SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—After almost giving away the game in regulation, Andrei Kirilenko made sure he did everything he could to win it in overtime.
“I think we showed everybody our character,” Kirilenko said after he made a key three-point play and held Vince Carter without a field goal in overtime of Utah’s 97-94 victory Friday night. “I actually almost lost the game.”
Raja Bell scored 19 points and Kirilenko had 17 points, seven rebounds, six blocked shots and five assists. Kirilenko, however, threw away an inbounds pass with 3.9 seconds to play, and Carter scored just before the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Toronto scored five points in the final 5 seconds of regulation. But in overtime, Kirilenko made the decisive plays.
The game was tied at 92 when Kirilenko drove and banked in a left-handed hook shot as he was knocked to the floor, and he made the free throw for a three-point play. Kirilenko harassed Carter into three missed shots in the extra period, including a sensational block.
“We just picked it up and concentrated in overtime. We played like a team and helped each other. That’s it, that’s why we won,” Kirilenko said.
“We made a couple of shots there, but we didn’t make enough. We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” said Toronto’s Donyell Marshall, who had 11 points but only one rebound.
Carter scored 30 points and Rose had 18 for the Raptors, who have lost six of seven and are winless on the road against Western Conference opponents.
“There were a couple of plays that were costly, a couple of plays that I felt could have gone either way with some of the referee calls,” Carter said.
Raja Bell scored Utah’s first four points of overtime and was 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Carlos Arroyo and DeShawn Stevenson each had 12 but hardly played in the final 17 minutes as Raul Lopez and Bell helped Utah to a 12-3 home record.
“I was struggling on the road and I just feel a lot more comfortable in this building. I think we all do,” said Bell, who made a 3-pointer to make it 88-83 with 52.2 seconds remaining.
Alvin Williams made all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with 4.8 seconds left. Then, after Kirilenko’s turnover, Carter made a shot in the lane just before the buzzer.
In the final minute of regulation, the young Jazz threw the ball away twice and Collins missed two free throws. In overtime, the Jazz had four more turnovers but their defense kept Toronto from capitalizing.
“We have to be tougher and more consistent. That kind of stuff at the end of the game can hurt you bad,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
Utah played its first home game in two weeks on a six-games-in-nine-days road trip and did it without starting center Greg Ostertag, their leading rebounder who had an inflamed left knee.
Carter scored 15 points in the first quarter, but then was defended by Kirilenko and often double-teamed.
Toronto coach Kevin O’Neill challenged his team citing a recent lack of effort, and the Raptors never trailed by more than five points.
“I would only be pleased if we won. I mean, energy and intensity to me isexpected every game,” O’Neill said.
The Delta Center was about half full at tip-off due to a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of Salt Lake City. … The Raptors are now 3-1 in overtime games. … Toronto tied a team record low with three offensive rebounds. … Ben Handlogten twisted his knee going after an offensive rebound in the fourth quarter, but Kirilenko blocked a shot on the other end and Lopez found the hobbling big man for an uncontested layup. …Arroyo played in his 100th career game.