The Toronto Raptors add onto their win column, as they are now 4 games above .500 at 26-22 after taking their fifth victory (of all time) in Utah against the Jazz by a score of 94-79. DeMar DeRozan seemed to have returned to his original self as he finished the game strong with 23 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, going 7-15 from the field and an impressive 7/7 from the free-throw line. The Raptors showed signs of struggle defensively in the first and third quarter as the Jazz outscored them, but they were absolutely dominant in the second (and the fourth) quarter as they scored 31 points collectively. Kyle Lowry left the game midway through the game with an injury. He says he will play on Wednesday.
The Raps were solid offensively for the most part; they were able to end the game with 94 points (although on 37/84 FGM-A and 6/21 3PM-A), while dishing out 21 assists. Five Raptors ended upscoring in double-digits, lead by DeMar with 23, followed by Jonas Valanciunas‘ 18, and John Salmons‘ 13 points off the bench. The boys in red went on major slump in the third quarter where they scored 16 points. Fortunately, the Jazz were not so impressive themselves as they scored only 2 more points than the Raptors that quarter. A lot of credit goes to the defense tonight.
Besides the first quarter when the Jazz scored 27 points, they Raptors were able to Utah under 20 points for the remaining three quarters. The Jazz shot nearly 41.0% from the field, and struggled down the stretch. They ended the game with a pitiful 79 points on 32 for 78 FG while shooting a horrid 3 for 17 from downtown. Although the Raptors didn’t end up with too many overall blocks, Amir Johnson had some critical swots in the fourth quarter which shifted the momentum of the game in favor of the Raptors. The Raptors also forced 39 huge turnovers.
The Raptors were able to out rebound the Jazz 44 to 39 as Amir and JV were a strong presence underneath the rim. The bigs combined for 20 out of the 44 boards.
Game Ball: Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas was able to dominate against Enes Kanter in the paint. He shot 8 for 14 to obtain 18 points, 2 for 2 from the line, grabbed 5 defensive rebounds and an impressive 4 offensive rebounds. Overall, the Raptors had a very modest and balanced game offensively and defensively. The slight edge will be given to JV for his double-digit scoring, his high FG%, his rebounding, and his overall dominance on the court without getting himself into foul trouble. He has improved in all of his repertoires since his first season as it is evident in tonight’s game and all of his games up to this point in this season.