Utah Jazz v Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 1: Terence Davis #0 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket during a game against the Utah Jazz on December 1, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

The RoundUp—Utah Jazz can't overcome first-half woes in Toronto, fall to the Raptors

by Aaron Falk

TORONTO — Mike Conley had dinner at the home of Marc Gasol, his friend and former teammate, on Saturday night.

“His daughter and son ran me to death,” a smiling Conley said before Sunday’s game. “They were running around the house. They were happy to see me. I was happy to see them. Everybody was happy.

As for the game itself? Gasol and his squad weren’t quite as hospitable.

The Utah Jazz fell 130-110 on Sunday in Canada.

The defending champs jumped on the Jazz early. A 15-0 run during a 3-minute stretch in the middle of the first period put Toronto up 28-11. And when Toronto’s Pascal Siakam drained a 3-pointer in the final second of the first half, the Jazz trailed 77-37.

The Raptors were hot, hitting on 13-of-19 from 3-point territory in the first half. The Jazz, meanwhile, hurt themselves by turning the ball over 12 times in the half, good for 16 points for Toronto.

“We were awful. I think the important thing for us is to understand why," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "There were a lot of issues—but our urgency to make certain things important defensively, whether that be an assignment, sprinting back and not jogging back against a team that runs the way they do. There were too many breakdowns and too many possessions where we lacked the urgency we needed.”

Facing the largest halftime deficit in franchise history, the Jazz had a response in the third quarter. Behind 13 points from Conley, the team orchestrated a 49-point quarter. A Joe Ingles 3-pointer cut the lead to 16 — 95-79 — with 2:40 to play in the period.

“We were so far down in the first half it was difficult, no matter how well we played," Snyder said. "Our focus in the first half has to be better.”

That was as close as the Jazz would get the rest of the way. With 6:30 to play in the fourth quarter and a game Monday night in Philadelphia, Snyder pulled his starters.

Conley finished the game with 20 points, three rebounds and four assists. Jeff Green came off the bench to score 19 points and grab three boards. Rudy Gobert went for 12 points and 11 rebounds. And Donovan Mitchell added 16 points.

Siakam led the way for Toronto, scoring a game-high 35 points on 14-for-22 shooting. Guard Fred VanVleet had 21 points and 11 assists.

Sunday’s Best: Mike Conley

Conley is still settling into his role with this Jazz team. The point guard fueled the Jazz’s 49-point third quarter by scoring 13 points (5-of-5 shooting, 3-for-3 from beyond the arc).

“More than anything, I want Mike to be instinctive and play his game,” Snyder said. “… He knows what he wants and we know what opportunities are there for him. But you have to be careful not to script everything for a player or they lose their ability to be instinctive. He’s a heck of a player. That’s why we wanted him and that’s why we got him.”

Top Plays

Significant Stats

13

The Jazz had troubles taking care of the basketball early on Sunday. The team combined for seven turnovers in the first quarter, leading to 13 points for the Raptors.

49

Utah’s 49 points in the third period were a franchise record for points in a quarter. The backcourt of Mike Conley (13) and Donovan Mitchell (11) combined for 24 of those points.

Notable

Their jersey colors have changed.

“It still seems weird seeing him in a different jersey,” Mike Conley said. “I feel comfortable in my jersey now. But seeing him in a Raptors jersey, about to play him, it doesn’t really compute yet. It’s new territory for us.”

But after spending 11.5 seasons together with the Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Conley’s and Marc Gasol’s friendship remains the same. The two shared a locker room until Gasol was traded to the Raptors in a deadline deal last season. So when Conley’s name reemerged in trade rumors last summer, he reached out to his friend for guidance.

“We talked a lot,” Conley said. “I talked to him before the trade to get an idea of what it would be like. Afterward, he was excited for me and wishing me well. … It’s nice to have a guy who had just gone through it to talk to.”

Gasol’s trade certainly worked out. The center won his first NBA championship last June—and he made sure Conley was one of the first people who celebrated with, video chatting with his former teammate after the victory.

“I was thinking in my head, ‘Wow, he’s got champagne all in his beard and I’m sitting at home,” Conley said with a smirk. “But it was all happiness for him. I know how special it was for him. We were talking about that same thing all of our careers. For him to have it, I’m just happy for him.”

Up Next

The Jazz close out their five-game road trip against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. MT

Utah's next home game is on Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00pm MT against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Find Tickets

Tags
NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter