SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 10 (Ticker) -- Rafer Alston
showed why the Toronto
Raptors pursued him in the offseason.
Alston scored seven of his 10 points in the final four minutes
as the surprising Raptors rallied for a 104-95 victory over the
Utah Jazz, who suffered their first loss of the season.
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and Alston teamed to lead the Raptors to a pivotal
road win. The pair combined for 15 fourth-quarter points to lead
the Raptors' comeback.
With Toronto clinging to a 91-89 lead in the fourth quarter,
Alston hit a layup with 3:50 remaining to spark a 13-4 run. He
followed with a pair of free throws 44 seconds later and, after
a dunk by Utah's Carlos Boozer
, hit a 3-pointer with two minutes
remaining to give the Raptors a 98-91 edge.
"We came into a tough environment in a really tough place to
win, and we got out and dictated the tempo of the game," Alston
said. "We got the game to go the way we wanted it to go. They
climbed back into the game but we found a way late in the fourth
quarter to turn the switch and get it to go our way."
Bosh scored the next four points for Toronto before Morris Peterson
capped the run at 104-93 with a layup with 41 seconds
remaining. The Raptors put together the clinching run with
superstar Vince Carter
and Jalen Rose
both on the bench.
Needing a point guard, the Raptors signed Alston to a six-year,
$29 million contract, which raised some eyebrows. Alston had
failed in one stint with Toronto and had never been a starter in
his career. His 10 points were a season low.
Bosh scored 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting as the Raptors won
for fourth time in five games, matching their best start in
The Jazz ended the third quarter with a 79-76 lead and pushed it
to 84-78 on a 14-footer by Raja Bell
. But Bosh answered with
two layups and Loren Woods
tied it on a pair of free throws with
With the score tied, 86-86, another role player stepped up for
the Raptors. This time it was Lamond Murray
, whose three-point
play on a reverse layup put Toronto ahead for good.
"I though the group that played from about the 10-minute mark on
played unbelievable," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "They
executed, they passed the ball, they made the extra pass, and we
got some wide-open shots. Rafer just controlled the game. I
just felt like they earned the right to be on the court."
Carter, who scored 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting, went to the
bench with 9:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and never
returned as his teammates ended the Jazz's unbeaten streak.
"Those guys did a great job. My feeling is, Why bring in a new
set of guys when they're rolling?" Carter said. "They were
playing well, they had the momentum. And with us winning with
those guys, that builds confidence. That's all that matters
right now - winning."
"I don't see names on the back of jerseys. All I see is Toronto
Raptors on the front," Mitchell said. "If you're out there
playing the way you're supposed to, you've earned the right to
be on the court."
The Jazz shot 41 percent (33-of-80) and they were kept under 50
percent and 100 points for the first time this season.
"We came down the stretch and weren't quite sure where to be in
our offense," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We couldn't execute
at the right time."
scored 12 of his 16 points in the first quarter,
and Bell had 14 of his 20 off the bench in the first half for
Utah, which trailed 54-52 at halftime. Boozer scored 11 of his
19 points in the third quarter.
"(The Raptors) are an interesting team," said Jazz forward
, who scored nine points on just 3-of-11
shooting. "They score a lot, on the floor and with layups, and
we didn't find our defense. They played good, but we played