SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz turned a sloppy start into a fantastic finish.
Alec Burks made the go-ahead jumper with 1:12 left and scored nine of his 13 points in Utah’s big fourth quarter, helping the Jazz beat the Toronto Raptors 93-89 on Wednesday night.
“If you contrast the end of the game with the (beginning) of the game, we were just much more aggressive with everything that we did,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Derrick Favors had 18 points, 11 rebounds and a clinching three-point play for the Jazz, who trailed by six midway through the final period before an 11-2 run put away the game. Gordon Hayward’s 3-pointer with 4:54 remaining gave them their first lead since the second quarter, but Toronto took it back on a thunderous dunk by DeMar DeRozan on top of Rudy Gobert.
Rodney Hood had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Jazz. Hayward finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.
“It’s definitely satisfying because in past years we probably would have fumbled and probably would have lost by 20 or something in that little span of time,” Favors said. “Now we’ve been through so much and been through those situations before, we just know how to handle it now.”.
Luis Scola carried the offensive load for Toronto in the first half with 18 points and finished with a season-high 22. Kyle Lowry scored 20 and had six assists and three rebounds, while DeRozan rebounded from a slow start to score 14, including 12 in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz jumped out to a 22-13 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 14-0 run and had a double-digit lead early in the second, but it was all Raptors for the rest of the half. Toronto closed on a 17-4 run to take a 45-42 lead into halftime.
“Our defensive focus in the fourth quarter to give up 34 points … That was the ballgame,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We are shooting ourselves in the foot with unsound defensive plays and unsound offensive plays. Until we learn that it is just going to be the same record.”.
Raptors: First-round draft pick Delon Wright made his first trip back to Salt Lake City as an NBA player and was welcomed by a throng of media. He was the star of the Utah team that advanced to the Sweet 16 in March, but did not play Wednesday. … Terrance Ross did not play due to a left thumb ligament injury.
Jazz: Burks averaged a team-high 16.2 points through the first 10 games. His first basket didn’t come until late in the third quarter. … The Jazz scored 35 combined points in the second and third quarters and 34 in the fourth quarter. They had seven turnovers in the second quarter. … Utah gave up 40 points in the paint after entering the game with a league-best average of 34.8 points allowed.
HOME SWEET HOME.
The Jazz returned home from a four-game road trip for just their third home game of the season. They are one of five teams since 1975-76 to start a season with eight of the first 10 games on the road. The team was pleased with the .500 start that included narrow losses to the Cavaliers and Heat and a win against the Hawks. They were also without starters Gobert for two games and Hood for one. “Adversity, endurance, mental toughness,” Snyder said when asked the biggest takeaway. “Those things manifest themselves immediately, or over the course of the season, or over the course of years.” Hood added, “I don’t think a lot of people thought we were going to do that well.”.
Casey lamented his team’s slow starts before the game and Wednesday was no different. “All we can do is address it,” Casey said. “If we don’t get a better start, the only other option is to change that starting lineup. I don’t know if we’re at that point yet. Believe me, I have every number known to man as far as our woes in the first quarter. We’re aware of it. We work to try to correct it. It’s still our Achilles heel right now.”.
Raptors: Visit the Lakers on Friday.
Jazz: Visit Dallas on Friday.
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