Game Rap: Raptors 104, Jazz 98

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

IT WAS OVER WHEN

Kyle Lowry drilled his ninth field goal of the fourth quarter to give the Raptors an eight-point lead with 42.5 seconds remaining. It capped a brilliant fourth quarter for Lowry and protected the come-back victory for the Raptors who kicked off a six-game road trip with a 104-98 victory against the Utah Jazz.

SOLID START

The Raptors got off to a good start in Utah, trailing by one after the opening quarter, but shooting 60 percent. DeMar DeRozan scored 12 points in the first and Kyle Lowry scored 12 points of his own in the second quarter as the Raptors held Utah to just 22 points in the period en route to taking a 56-51 lead at the halftime break.

BUMPS, BRUISES, BAD THIRD Q

With Kyle Lowry leaving the game less than four minutes in the third quarter due to a collision with Gordon Hayward requiring two stitches above his mouth, things quickly went south for the Raptors. After shooting 58 percent in the first half, Toronto struggled offensively in the third, shooting just 28 percent in the quarter. Luckily for the Raptors, the Jazz didn’t fare much better, making 7-of-18 field goals to Toronto’s 5-of-18 field goals in the quarter. Trey Lyles scored 12 points off the bench to help the Jazz turn an 11-point deficit into a two-point lead heading into the fourth. Utah outscored Toronto 21-9 without Lowry on the floor.

LOWRY TAKEOVER

Lowry returned to the game to start the fourth and he didn’t come off until the final buzzer sounded. In 12 minutes of fourth-quarter action, Lowry changed the entire complexion of the game. He scored 19 of Toronto’s 32 points in the quarter, and had as many made field goals as the entire Jazz team. Lowry was fired up throughout, aggressive and attacking and refusing to be denied as he put his team upon his back and led the Raptors to their 21st win of the season.

RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Kyle Lowry delivered one of the best performances of this season against the Jazz. He played 33 minutes after needing to leave the game in the third quarter to receive two stitches above his lip, and he made a difference in each of them. The Raptors were a +21 when Lowry was on the floor as the point guard scored a season-high 36 points on a ridiculous 15-for-20 field goals. He connected on 4-of-8 three-point field goals, 2-of-3 free throws, and added four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Lowry scored 19 of his 36 points in that crucial fourth quarter, where he shot 9-of-10 from the floor. Utah was 9-for-22 from the floor as a team in the fourth.

UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME

Lucas Nogueira had another strong night for the Raptors, playing 32 minutes off the bench. He scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds, adding an assist, two steals and a blocked shot. Nogueira shot 4-for-5 from the floor, and hit his first three-pointer of the season on a corner three off a Cory Joseph assist. He kept Toronto in front by six when he converted an alley-oop dunk from Lowry with 1:32 minutes remaining, and his hustle and energy around the basket helped Toronto earn extra possessions throughout the game.

THAT'S A RAP…

“Kyle’s competitive spirit. He just ignites us. He was a +21 in his minutes he was in the game. He just gives us a fight, grit, he dove on the floor for a loose ball, didn’t even hesitate, had stitches, come back from stitches, that’s the kind of spirit and toughness you’ve got to have to win in this league. All the pretty three-point shots and dunks and all of that is good, but when it gets close-game time, down the stretch you’ve got to have that competitive spirit and that’s what we’re trying to build on, that type of toughness when it counts.”
- Dwane Casey on the play of Kyle Lowry

BY THE #’S

10…Turnovers for Toronto leading to 16 points for the Jazz. Utah turned the ball over 18 times leading to 21 points scored by the Raptors.

48…Points in the paint for the Raptors, 42 for the Jazz.

24…Points, six rebounds, one assist, four steals for DeMar DeRozan in 37 minutes of play. DeRozan shot 10-for-24 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free throw line.

53…Percent shooting for Toronto, 44 percent shooting for the Jazz as the Raptors defence did a solid job slowing Utah.

16…The Raptors topped 100 points for the 16th straight time.

THEY SAID IT…

“We needed a win. They made a run when I was out and I just got back and I just wanted to get a win. That’s all. Just winning games. That’s all it’s about for us. Winning basketball games and winning as a team.”
- Kyle Lowry after a huge 36-point performance

“We just kept playing. We’re a team that’s never going to stop playing no matter what’s going on, if things are not going our way. If we’re missing shots, we have a team where any guy is liable to get going and carry us as long as we play defence and that’s what we did.”
- DeMar DeRozan on turning things around in the fourth quarter on the road

“This is a tough place to play. That’s an excellent team. Quinn is doing a heck of job with that team. They’re a hungry team. The altitude, whatever it is, this has always been a tough place to play and our guys fought through it. Kyle gets stitches, comes back, puts on a performance that will be remembered. Everybody that played in the game. We had breakdowns, we had some big breakdowns early, but we fought through it and stayed competitive and that’s what you’ve got to do against a hungry team like this.”
- Dwane Casey on his team getting a big road win against a solid Jazz team

“It makes everything easier. When your point guard is capable of doing all of the things that he’s capable of doing like tonight it just makes everything easier. It’s just on us to make the right play after that. If he passes the ball or if we cut, whatever it may be because we feel like every time it leaves his hands, it’s going to go in.”
- DeMar DeRozan on Kyle Lowry lighting it up in the fourth

UP NEXT:

The Raptors will meet in Portland for a Christmas Day practice session in advance of Monday’s game against the Blazers at 10:30 P.M. ET.

Game Highlights: Raptors at Jazz - December 23, 2016

Watch highlights from Toronto's 104-98 road win over Utah on Friday night.

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Game Highlights: Raptors at Jazz - December 23, 2016

Watch highlights from Toronto's 104-98 road win over Utah on Friday night.
Dec 24, 2016  |  04:17

Raptors Post-Game: Dwane Casey - December 23, 2016

Head coach Dwane Casey addresses the media following Toronto's 104-98 road win over Utah on Friday night.
Dec 24, 2016  |  04:01

Raptors Post-Game: Kyle Lowry - December 23, 2016

Kyle Lowry addresses the media following Toronto's 104-98 road win over Utah on Friday night.
Dec 24, 2016  |  02:16

Raptors Post-Game: DeMar DeRozan - December 23, 2016

DeMar DeRozan addresses the media following Toronto's 104-98 road win over Utah on Friday night.
Dec 24, 2016  |  02:20