Raptors drop third straight game; fall to Jazz in a rout

The Associated Press
12/8/2012 1:34:52 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY -- The pregame talk was about 6-foot-11 centre Enes Kanter making his first career start for the Jazz.

But it was Utah's "small" lineup that delivered the knockout blow in the second quarter, with the Jazz hitting five 3-pointers in a 3 1/2-minute span to set the tone in a 131-99 rout of the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

"It's just like anything, when you see someone else on your team make the extra pass to the open guy, then you're going to come down and make the extra pass to the open guy," guard Randy Foye said. "It's contagious."

In the end the Jazz hit 13 of 23 shots from beyond the arc -- the sixth-highest total in team history. Marvin Williams, Foye and DeMarre Carroll finished with three 3s apiece.

"It felt good to see those guys firing them up and them going in," said Paul Millsap, who led the Jazz with 20 points but didn't attempt any 3s. "But we had open shots, the ball movement was good, all they had to do is shoot it."

Marvin Williams, Carroll and Gordon Hayward -- part of Utah's "small" lineup along with Millsap and Mo Williams -- hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions as Utah built a 56-42 lead after trailing by 10 in the first quarter.

Kanter finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in place of Al Jefferson, who did not play because of back spasms.

"I was nervous," Kanter said of being told he was getting the start. "But after talking to Big Al, I felt so much better."

He was almost giddy watching all the 3s drop.

"After a while I'm like, I'm not even going to go in and rebound," Kanter said. "I'm just going to go back to defence. They played unbelievable today. They played Utah Jazz basketball."

Hayward added 17 points off the bench as Utah (11-10) improved to 8-1 at home.

In all, eight Jazz players scored in double figures for the first time since 2008, with Mo Williams adding 11 points and 10 assists.

"Everybody's ready," Foye said of the Jazz playing without not only Jefferson but leading shot-blocker Derrick Favours (plantar fasciitis). "Everybody at one point in time was the man somewhere."

Kanter certainly was in his native Turkey. Despite being in the starting lineup for the first time in his NBA career, it was a familiar foe he faced in Jonas Valanciunas, a rookie from Lithuania.

"Growing up we always went against each other and everybody was always asking who is better, who is better?" Kanter said. "He is a great kid with great skills, but tonight I ... was fortunate to come out on top."

Valanciunas finished with six points, four rebounds and two turnovers.

"I think big Turkey did a great job tonight, to be thrown in that situation," Foye said.

Toronto coach Dwane Casey had nothing positive to say about his team, considering the Raptors lost a heartbreaker at home to the Jazz in triple overtime on Nov. 12.

"We gave in to the altitude or whatever it was," Casey said. "I thought we split apart and didn't stay together. Tonight is the first time I have seen us give in."

It was a subject of discussion in the postgame locker room after Toronto fell to 4-16 overall and 1-12 on the road.

"This kind of performance is not acceptable," Andrea Bargnani said of Casey's message. "That's the bottom line."

Bargnani led Toronto with 20 points and eight rebounds. DeMar DeRozan added 17 points while Amir Johnson scored 10 off the bench.

The Jazz entered the game averaging 6.6 3-pointers per game but after hitting five during that short span in the second quarter they hit seven more in the second half.

The Jazz shot nearly 54 per cent in the second quarter. And with 3 minutes left in the third, they already had surpassed the total they put up in an 87-81 victory over Orlando on Wednesday.

In that game the Jazz had a big lead and nearly blew it. They made sure this one wouldn't get away, not with the last two meetings against Toronto going into overtime.

It helped that the Jazz could shuffle players around, including 6-9 Marvin Williams getting action at power forward.

Now, Utah turns its attention to Sunday's game against a Lakers team the Jazz beat by nine points on Nov. 7 -- the last game for coach Mike Brown before he was fired by Los Angeles.

"Obviously, they are a great team and have arguably the best player of all time, a shot-blocker, a new coach and are playing different now, so it's really a new team," Foye said. "We've just got to play Utah Jazz basketball and not worry about what the Lakers are doing and I think we'll have a great chance."

NOTES: Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin took time to visit Utah State's Danny Berger, who collapsed Tuesday during basketball practice and had to be revived by a trainer. Berger, 22, is recovering at a Salt Lake City area hospital and was upgraded to fair condition. "He's part of Utah. We're Utah," said Corbin, who also has a son who plays college basketball. "He's a kid that's had a tough time in Utah. We feel his pain. If I could say anything encouraging to him and fight his way through it, that's what it's about. I was just trying to support the kid." ... Nine-year-old Samantha Gordon, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in a Utah Gremlin League to earn her own spot on a Wheaties box recently, was in attendance with the rest of her Herriman team. ... Toronto G Jose Calderon appeared in his 500th game in a Raptors uniform. ... Jazz F Jeremy Evans had a highlight-reel dunk in the second half.

Evans drives past Johnson (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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