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The Phoenix Suns' defensive game plan coming into Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors was simple: Slow down Fred VanVleet.

They'd seen what VanVleet had done the previous week, averaging 30.3 points and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 45.3% from behind the arc, and were determined not to let it happen again. The plan meant switching things up defensively. Instead of using Chris Paul or Devin Booker on VanVleet, the Suns threw their best on-ball defender, the 6-foot-6 Mikal Bridges on Toronto's 6-foot guard. 

It was a sign of respect from Suns coach Monty Williams who said he's always appreciated VanVleet's game from afar.

"I've always seen him as a guy that's figured out how to dominate the game behind the scenes. Now, these last couple of years, he's dominating front and center. I'm not quite sure if there's anyone playing better than him in the East," Williams said prior to the game.

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"I just like his demeanor. Not a lot of flash. He just gets it done," Williams added. "Those are the guys that you spend a lot of time scouting against. He's certainly one of those guys that keeps you up at night when you watch the film and you look at why this team is playing the way it is right now, it's pretty much him."

VanVleet may not have put up the kind of numbers he had during his Player of the Week stretch against Phoenix, but the fact that the Suns had to pay him so much attention opened things up for OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam who has 25 and 22 points, respectively. 

Further Reading

Suns Coach Monty Williams says Pascal Siakam is back to his All-NBA form

Raptors stand tall in measuring stick game despite loss to Suns

Nick Nurse provides an update on Gary Trent Jr. & Scottie Barnes