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Jazz Show Much Needed Toughness In Win Over Raptors



SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz earned a hard-fought win over the Toronto Raptors 115-112 on the fourth stop of a five-game road trip.

The Jazz found themselves trailing by five late in the final quarter but closed on a 10-2 run to seal the victory.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 31 points to carry the team, while Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 16 rebounds in the win.

Pascal Siakam had 27 points for the Raptors, but his last-second three that would have tied the game rimmed out as Toronto lost their seventh straight game of the season.

Jazz Toughness Shines In Win Over Raptors

The Jazz desperately needed a win over the Raptors after losing to the lowly Washington Wizards on Thursday night.

The Raptors jumped out to a seven point lead several times throughout the first half, but the Jazz answered with a basket at each instance, never allowing Toronto to give themselves a double-digit advantage.

The Jazz outscored the Raptors by eight over the final 4:38 of the second quarter to go into halftime with a one-point lead, despite a Fred VanVleet halfcourt heave as the buzzer sounded.

After building a 10 point lead with 8:09 left to play, the Jazz allowed Toronto to go on a 26-11 run over the next six and a half minutes, building a 110-105 lead with just 1:36 left play.

Instead of collapsing on tired legs, the Jazz went on a 10-2 run to close the game and escape with a 115-112 victory.

“For us to take a couple of punches and keep moving, and not only be defensive but fight back, push the tempo, push the pace of the game and get to the free-throw line, that was big for us tonight,” guard Mike Conley said.

Conley struggled with turnovers in his return after missing Thursday’s loss as he continues to rehab his injured hamstring but finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the win.

It’s a toughness the Jazz haven’t shown at times this season, but the team found a way to get the victory despite a slow start and after surrendering a big lead late.

Donovan Mitchell’s Wonderful, Horrible Night

Donovan Mitchell had one of the more unique nights of his career, becoming the first player in NBA history to make at least 15 free-throws while missing all nine of his three-point attempts.

Instead of getting discouraged by his poor shooting night, Mitchell simply took his game inside the arc where he was magnificent, connecting on 8-11 shots from the floor and all but one of his 16 free-throw attempts.

“I forced a few early in the game that I wish I had back,” Mitchell admitted, “But all the shots in the second half I was pleased with, all the decisions I made I think I was pleased with.”

Mitchell had reason to be happy, he scored 22 of his 31 points in the second half on 6-7 shooting. The All-Star guard’s most impressive stretch came over the final minute 1:25 as he scored eight straight points to give the Jazz a 113-105 lead.

The guard wasn’t without his flaws on the evening. In addition to his nine missed threes, Mitchell gave Raptors guard Kyle Lowry a wide-open three on a blown defensive rotation that built Toronto’s lead to five with under two minutes to play.

However, instead of sulking, Mitchell’s heroics saved the Jazz for the second time in the last three games.

The guard has scored 30 or more points in five of his last nine games, including a season-high 42 point outing on Thursday, and is averaging 29 points per game during the stretch.

A Very Un-Jazz Win

While Mitchell had one of the more unique games in NBA history, the Jazz had one of their more unique wins of the season.

The Raptors outshot the Jazz from the floor 48 percent to 45 percent and from the three-point line 47 percent to 32 percent.

Toronto made 21 threes to just 12 makes for the Jazz, and attempted 44 long balls to the Jazz 37.

In most Jazz wins this season, they’ve outshot their opponent from both the floor and three-point line, earning their reputation as one of the best shooting teams in the league.

However, they beat Toronto thanks to their willingness to get to the free-throw line where they attempted 41 foul shots. The Raptors meanwhile attempted just 14 free-throws which proved to be the difference in the game.

The team must find new ways to win games, especially as opponents continue to try to push the Jazz off the three-point line. Instead of overpassing, the Jazz committed to drawing contact and earning points at the free-throw line, and it allowed them to leave Tampa with the win.

The Jazz have two days off before facing the Chicago Bulls on the final night of a five-game road trip.

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