Notebook: Thunder 114, Lakers 108



Posted Dec 8, 2012 12:50 AM

By Andrew Aragon, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Utah Jazz had to find a way to make up for the absence of Al Jefferson, their leading scorer and rebounder, on Friday night. They did it by playing their most complete game of the season, as the Jazz (11-10) had eight players score in double figures, dished 31 assists and drained 13 3-pointers in a 131-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors (4-16). Paul Millsap had a team-leading 20 points and 10 rebounds as Utah won without Jefferson, who has been hobbled by back spasms since late in the Jazz's victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Enes Kanter made his first career start in Jefferson's place and had 18 points and eight rebounds as Utah handed Toronto its ninth straight road loss. Gordon Hayward came off the bench to score 17 points fr Utah. Andrea Bargnani had 20 points and eight rebounds for Toronto.

QUOTABLE: "It was really pretty basketball. I think the guys really had a good time playing tonight, and it was fun to watch."

--Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on his team's performance

THE STAT: Utah had its best 3-point shooting performance of the season. The Jazz's 13 made 3-pointers was their best mark in regulation this season. Utah hit 14 3-pointers the first time it played Toronto, but it took three overtime periods to do it. The Jazz shot 56.5 percent from 3-point range tonight, and that was better than what it shot overall at 49.5 percent. Utah's franchise record for most 3-pointers in a game is 15, and it might have broken the record if the game wasn't basically decided by the end of the third quarter. The Jazz led by 19 at the end of three quarter and only attempted two 3-pointers in the fourth period.

TURNING POINT: The Jazz gained some separation from the Raptors in the second quarter by -- what else -- draining 3-pointers. A 13-2 run stretched their lead to 56-42, and Utah scored 12 of its points on four straight 3-pointers by Mo Williams, Marvin Williams, DeMarre Carroll and Hayward. Before their 13-2 run, Utah had trailed by as many as 10 points and hadn't led by more than five.

HOT: Carroll is a sparkplug for the Jazz. Utah got off to a miserable start, struggling with foul trouble and a lack of identity on offense. Carroll helped change momentum by doing what he does -- hustling, being a pest on defense and hitting occasional shots. He entered the game for the first time with 1:43 left in the first quarter and the Jazz trailing by six. He played the rest of the half, had eight points on 3-for-3 shooting, collected six rebounds and helped Utah build an 11-point halftime lead. He finished with 11 points and eight boards.

NOT: Toronto's starting backcourt had a rough night. Kyle Lowry shot 3-for-10 and had 10 points. DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points, but shot just 5-for-15.

QUOTABLE II: "That's what I do. When we're down and we need a spark, that's when I come in and give a spark. I just went in and did what a junkyard dog [does]. People love me so much because something good [is] bound to happen. You might miss your shots, you might turn the ball over but something good is bound to happen [when you play hard]."

--Jazz forward DeMarre Carroll, aka the "Junkyard Dog," on the spark he gave the Jazz in the second quarter

GOOD MOVE: The Jazz earned all of their open looks from 3-point range and uncontested dunks with beautiful ball movement. The ball rarely got stuck when Utah had it, the Jazz had great floor spacing and on numerous occasions the team passed up good looks for better ones. Utah is developing noticeable chemistry on offense.

BAD MOVE: The Raptors certainly played a part in Utah's breakout offensive performance with poor perimeter defense. Entering Friday's game, Toronto ranked 26th in the league in 3-point defense. It was easy to see why. Utah players usually had clear looks at 3-point attempts as Raptor efforts in rotations were lackadaisical and many times didn't get close enough to put a hand in shooters' faces. Defense is obviously a major problem for Toronto, which has allowed an average of 111.3 points in its last seven games.

NOTABLE: The 32-point result was Utah's largest margin of victory this season and it was the Raptors' biggest defeat. Toronto trailed by 34 points in the fourth quarter and it was their largest deficit of the season. Utah's Derrick Favors missed his fourth straight game with plantar fasciitis. Raptors reserve Ed Davis grotesquely dislocated his finger with 8:30 left in the second quarter and returned in the third quarter. The Jazz are 12-1 in their last 13 games against Toronto.

UP NEXT: For the Raptors, Sunday @ L.A. Clippers, Monday @ Portland, Wednesday vs. Nets. For the Jazz, Sunday @ L.A. Lakers, Wednesday vs. Spurs, Friday @ Phoenix.