It was not easy and took an extra 15 minutes, but the monkey has been lifted. The Utah Jazz earned a hard-fought 140-133 victory over the Toronto Raptors in triple overtime Monday, notching their first road win on the young season.
In a game where dramatic shots were made by both squads, the Jazz had just enough in the tank in the third extra period, outscoring the Raptors 15-8. Utah struggled defensively, playing from behind for most of regulation. Down 104-101 with 16 seconds left, the most improbable player connected on the overtime-inducing 3-pointer: center Al Jefferson.
In a losing cause, Toronto swingman DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 37 points, while playing 60 of 63 possible minutes.
Utah Heroes: It was a balanced effort by several heroes. Besides making the clutch triple, Jefferson finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds (15 coming on the defensive end). He also made key plays on both ends in the overtimes.
Paul Millsap was dialed in, hitting 11 of 16 from the floor, including three huge treys. He was huge during the extra time, hitting big shot after big shot. He ended up scoring 18 of his 34 points in overtime.
Coming off an injury, point guard Mo Williams quarterbacked the win, dishing out 14 assists while also contributing 17 points and four steals in a workmanlike 50 minutes.
Big man Derrick Favors played a career-high 45 minutes and his defense was integral down the stretch. After scorching the Jazz early on, Toronto center Andrea Bargnani was held in check in the second half by Favors. The third-year pro registered 15 points and four blocked shots.
Randy Foye had 20 points, while Marvin Williams added 17. All in all, seven of the nine Jazz players who saw the court scored 12 or more points, while each played between 32 and 50 minutes. Six individuals tallied two or more assists.
- Utah assisted on 30 of its 46 field goals, a nice 65.2-percent rate. In most cases, the more involved the entire team is, the better the results for the Jazz.
- After struggling a bit, the Jazz connected on 14-of-26 3-pointers, with six different players doing the damage. That helped offset Toronto’s 54-40 edge in points in the paint.
- The Jazz won the fast-break points battle 15-7.
- Notorious Jazz killer Linas Kleiza came out on fire, scoring 17 points in the first half. After making an early 3 in the second, however, he was held scoreless the rest of game.
- Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin elected to go the final 18-and-a-half minutes with his “big” lineup of Jefferson, Favors and Millsap.
- Longtime Raptors point guard Jose Calderon handed out 17 assists.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.