Game Review: Raptors 108 – Jazz 125

Game Details

9:00 PM ET, November 3rd, 2010
Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

1 2 3 4 Final
TOR 22 25 37 24 108
UTA 41 25 25 34 125

Top Performers
Toronto: A. Bargnani 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk
Utah: D. Williams 22 Pts, 8 Reb, 14 Ast, 2 Stl Box Score


I’m not going to lie, there was a moment before tip off where I was concerned about this match up. On paper, it looked easy. This was a Raptor team playing in a post-Bosh world and without a relevant star to push them through. The only trouble with that is that the Raptors started the season above expectations, heading to Salt Lake with three guys (Bargnari, DeRozen and Kleiza) playing very well. The Raptors first two losses (Knicks, Kings) were decided by a total of 8 points, and they beat the Cavs by 20.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I was overly concerned, but we all know that one of the Jazz’s bad habits is their ability to fall asleep against teams that they’re supposed to beat. I felt like the Jazz may fall into the trap of feeling over-confident against Bargnari in particular and find themselves trying to battle out of a hole.

Well, my fears were unfounded.

The Jazz opened up with a 23-9 run and finished the first quarter with 41 points. They were fast, effective (68% from the field in the 1st) and clearly playing together well. They continued that energy into the 2nd, though the intensity started to dip.

The Raptors came out of the break well, and executed an impressive run to get back into the game. I found myself waiting for the inevitable time out from Sloan as the Raptors pulled it to within single digits – and eventually down to two points – but I started to realize that Sloan wanted Williams and company to survive the push on their own.

It was starting to get a little nerve wrecking, but my concern was calmed after my good friend sent me the following text:

Every team makes a run… unless it’s Detroit

My favorite highlight of the night came with 1.6 seconds left in the third, during an inbound play that lead to a C.J. Miles three with the clock running out (you can see it in the highlight clip above). That play brought an end to the Raptors run, and sparked the Jazz to build the lead back out to 20 points in the 4th.

The Jazz win their 11th straight over the Raptors (Williams has yet to lose to the Raptors), and extend their all-time record vs the Raptors to 22-7.

Williams ended the night 2 rebounds away from a triple double, dishing out 14 assists to go with 22 points. Jefferson also had arguably his best night so far, finishing with 27 points and 6 rebounds.

Oh, and, I couldn’t resist including this highlight from Ronnie Price near the end of the 4th.

The Jazz face Golden State this Friday on the road, the Clippers at home on Saturday night, then face a four game road trip starting with Miami next Tuesday night and Orlando on Wednesday night.

Game Quotes

Jerry Sloan

“The first half of the basketball game was really exciting. I thought we did a great job executing our offense and getting baskets that were worthwhile. I thought it was one of the better defensive first halves I have seen us play. It felt good to see us do that.”

“I thought we played awfully well in OKC, but times tonight we played a little bit better than what we did over there. It was really refreshing. I thought we held our composure pretty well. DWill was terrific getting guys the basketball. C.J. making shots. Ronnie Price played an excellent game. Guys that started, all of those people.”

“C.J. made those shots that were heartbreakers for the other team and certainly warmed our heart when they went in. Those were some big shots that C.J. made, big plays. That’s what we need out of him. He is a very talented guy. He has gotten a lot better. He just keeps working at it. He makes himself even better.”

Ronnie Price

“Teams that start out slow usually make a run and (Toronto) did that in the third. It’s the way you react to that run to find out if you’re a good team or not. Tonight, we fought and made some key plays on defense and came out on top.”

Al Jefferson

“It’s getting a lot better. It’s getting better and better by the day. I’m learning to read him [Deron Williams]. I’m learning to know if he does one thing, I do this. It’s coming along easy, but still has a ways to go.”

“C.J. could start on any team in this league. We got him coming off the bench, so that’s a big plus for us. He’s a great player, he’s a great leader for that second unit.”

Deron Williams

“Things are getting better and we’ve got two wins from them. We’re getting out and running more, pushing the ball and getting easy looks. A lot of it just comes from the energy and intensity, especially in the first half tonight. I thought we played good basketball; about as good as we can play. Any time you get up 20 on a team in the first half it’s hard to sustain that because teams will make a run, which they did, but the most important thing is we were able to get the lead back up to 20.”

“Everything is more open right now. Guys are in rhythm and setting screens and all those things help me. I haven’t shot the ball well yet so I am just waiting for that to come around.”

Quotes from the Salt Lake Tribune.

~ by djepperson on November 4, 2010.

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