Raptors Picked Apart By Williams, Jazz
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March 24, 2010
TORONTO (CP) -- One by one, the Toronto Raptors silently funnelled out of the locker-room following their second straight blowout loss at home.
The only thing quieter was the way they bowed out against the powerhouse Utah Jazz.
Deron Williams led a balanced attack with 18 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds as the Jazz trounced the Toronto Raptors 113-87. Carlos Boozer added 18 points and 11 rebounds while Mehmet Okur and rookie Wesley Matthews had 16 points apiece for the red-hot Jazz (47-25), who earned their third straight win and improved to 28-8 in their past 36 games.
Seven Jazz players finished with at least 12 points.
Chris Bosh celebrated his 26th birthday with a 20-point performance for the Raptors (35-35), who lost ground to the Charlotte Bobcats in the Eastern Conference. The Bobcats upended the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-95 to move into a tie for sixth with Miami, 1 1/2 games up on Toronto.
Antoine Wright scored 10 of his 15 points in the second quarter for the Raptors, while Andrea Bargnani added 12 and Jose Calderon 10. It's the second straight home rout for Toronto, which fell 115-89 to Oklahoma City last Friday.
After Wednesday's game, Bosh shared his frustration in hushed tones, once again calling out his teammates for not playing hard.
``(The Jazz are) good, they're one of the best teams in the West,'' said Bosh. ``But that's still no excuse. We didn't come to play.
``Yeah, they're good, but we have to (say), 'Who cares? We're still going to win this game.' And I don't think we have that fire right now.''
Bosh said it wasn't his job to motivate his teammates.
``I can't instill it in guys,'' said Bosh. ``You have to have it on your own. As much as I would like to do everything, I can't do everything. Personally, you have to bring something to the plate. Whatever gets guys going, we have to find it.''
On a night where both teams donned retro jerseys, Williams and Boozer channelled their inner John Stockton and Karl Malone to make easy work of the Raptors, beating them for the 10th straight time.
Williams used his deft court vision to find teammates for uncontested layups or open threes, or to slash to the hoop himself. Boozer excelled down low using an array of layups, putbacks and short hook shots. And like Stockton and Malone, Utah's current dynamic duo didn't hesitate to use the occasional pick-and-roll to befuddle the Raptors, who looked mostly flat in front of 16,178 at the Air Canada Centre.
``We could not contain Deron Williams from the start of the game,'' said Raptors head coach Jay Triano. ``He goes out and we get it to 14 (points), he comes back in and it's 20. He just goes where he wants to go and does what he wants to do.
``His line is deceiving ... 18 (points) and 16 (assists), he was better than that.''
Boozer said the entire team contributed to the win.
``Everybody helped on Chris Bosh, everybody did a good job of getting back to their man and rebounding, and on offence, we did a good job of sharing the ball and executing our plays,'' said Boozer.
``Great game for us, man. It was fun.''
Up 61-43 entering the second half, the Jazz were content to trade baskets with the Raptors for the majority of the third quarter. A C.J. Miles three-pointer off a Williams feed extended the lead to 23, and Utah was up 87-67 after three.
Toronto closed to within 13 early in the fourth quarter, but a Boozer teardrop _ on Williams' 14th assist of the game _ ignited a 7-0 Utah run that put the game out of reach, sending fans scurrying for the exits.
Triano said he thought his team's effort was ``good.'' Point guard Jarrett Jack disagreed.
``We got our butts kicked, bottom line,'' said Jack. ``I don't think anybody in here is into moral victories. We fought hard and got blown out. That's just the way I feel about it.''
Notes: The Raptors donned their blue-and-white Huskies jerseys for Wednesday's game, while the Jazz went with green-and-gold road uniforms they wore for two seasons in the early-1980s. ... Raptors G Marco Belinelli missed his second straight game with a sore lower back, while F Hedo Turkoglu sat out the second half with a stomach virus. Jazz F Andrei Kirilenko was out with a strained calf muscle. ... Utah is assured a winning record for the 23rd time in the last 24 years. ... There have been 236 NBA coaching changes since Jerry Sloan first took over as Utah's coach in December 1988. Denver, New York and the L.A. Clippers have all switched coaches 12 times in that span. The Raptors are on their seventh head coach.