In a stunning turnaround, the Raptors saw their 14-point lead midway through the fourth quarter rapidly evapourate as the Jazz went small and began to drill threes, while the Raptors were dared to shoot against Utah's zone defence and couldn't capitalize.
They still had a chance with with 17.6 seconds to play and the game tied 94-94. Utah's Devin Harris was defended well on his final driving layup attempt that spilled out, but Al Jefferson was freed up enough to get a hand on the loose ball, flick it up and in before the buzzer for a heartbreaking defeat at ACC.
Utah centre Al Jefferson continued his recent run with a 34-point effort in Toronto. The tip-in won it, but Jefferson actually scored Utah's final six points to cap a confident and versatile offensive performance and a second straight 30-plus point effort.
"There is a reason he has 34 points, why he is averaging the points he is lately," said Jay Triano. "He was dominant and we had no answer for him especially with Amir (Johnson) getting hurt early and us being restricted and us having to play Reggie ridiculous minutes really for his first game back."
Reggie Evans (11 rebounds, four offensive) had a solid return to the lineup on Wednesday after missing 47 games with a right foot fracture. The fans at ACC were excited to see energetic forward and got plenty of him, as he logged 33 minutes after Amir Johnson was forced out with a left ankle sprain before halftime.
"It was cool," said Evans of the reception. "Definitely, I put in a lot of hard work to even come back to even do my best to give them what they’ve been missing. It felt real good and the love is there and stuff like that. These are terrific fans and they stick with us."
"Well they had to do something. We had a 12 point lead and we were playing pretty well and they had to try to slow us down because I thought we were moving pretty well. Sometimes they get you to settle for outside shots which is all we can do really with the lineup that we have right now. We try to drive but they are sitting there with bigs inside, Al Jefferson inside, so we swing it on the outside, try to get open looks, and I thought we had good ones."
- Jay Triano, on the Jazz zone switch to zone defence
Fri., Mar. 11 vs. Pacers
7PM, Sportsnet One, FAN590
The Raptors continue their three-game homestand with a visit from the Indiana Pacers on Friday. The Raptors have suffered a pair of double-digit losses to the Pacers in Indianapolis this season, with the latest defeat on Jan. 31 handing Frank Vogel a win in his head coaching debut. The Pacers won four of their first eight games under Vogel, but have since dropped eight of their last 11.
|12||Consecutive losses for the Raptors against the Jazz|
|24-8||Scoring favouring the Jazz after the Raptors went ahead by 14 pts with 8:21 to play|
|15||Consecutive games with at least 14 points for DeMar DeRozan|
|4-7||3-Point shooting in the 4th quarter for the Jazz|
|41-33||Rebounding totals favouring the Raptors|
|"Right place at the right time. It was so crazy because Devin Harris made about eight moves. "|
- Reggie Evans on the final play
|"We needed to pick up the pace of the game a little bit. The clock was against us a little, we were down 10 points and we wanted to try and make something happen fast."|
- Jazz head coach Ty Corbin on adjusting late
|"They are a very disciplined team who don’t really make many mistakes on the court. They capitalize on the other team’s mistakes and they capitalized on our mistakes not being able to execute in the zone."|
- Sonny Weems, on facing the Jazz