When he finally got it, Kirilenko allowed himself a quick fist pump to celebrate before running back to play defense.
Kirilenko finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Jazz to a 111-98 win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, ending Utah’s two-game losing streak and keeping the Jazz from falling below .500.
“I like it, but I like winning the game much more,” Kirilenko said.
Kirilenko played the entire second half and became the first member of the Jazz with a triple-double since Karl Malone, who capped an MVP season with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on May 4, 1999.
That was nearly two months before the Jazz took Kirilenko late in the first round of the draft and years before Kirilenko would join Malone and John Stockton in Utah.
“He’s a legend of the Jazz. Same as John Stockton. They both did so much for the Jazz. So no comment on me right now. I’m not even close,” Kirilenko said. “I need to play 10 more years at least.”
Kirilenko turns 25 next month, so 10 more years isn’t out of the question, even at the frantic pace he plays.
“I never took him out the second half. Usually I take him out, but he was so alive tonight that I didn’t take him out at all,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
Okur and Kirilenko, who started at both forward spots, had 18 of Utah’s 27 assists.
“Everybody was looking for each other—27 assists was huge,” Okur said. “We had a good time. It was fun out there.”
The Raptors allowed 33 points in the third quarter, including 10 by Kirilenko, and never recovered as they opened a five-game road trip with a loss.
Toronto was also outscored 62-32 in the paint.
“They were just layups. We knew what was coming. We reacted slowly and you have to give them credit,” Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. “We kept getting lost on defense. We just kept giving them layup after layup.”
The Jazz were coming off an overtime loss at the Clippers on Monday, but recovered from the rare afternoon game in time to keep from falling below .500.
After a slow start, the Jazz took control in the third quarter, when Kirilenko started scoring to go along with everything else he was doing.
By the start of the fourth quarter, Kirilenko was one rebound and two assists short of the triple-double and quickly pulled down two boards to get even closer. Toronto was keeping the score just close enough that Sloan left Kirilenko and the other starters in the game and Kirilenko finally got the triple with a few minutes to go.
Kirilenko tapped the ball in the corner to keep it from going out of bounds, then he got to the loose ball before anyone else could and passed it underneath to Brown for a layup that put the Jazz ahead 103-87 with 3:44 left in the game.
“He told me as soon as he passed it to me to shoot it,” Brown said.
Kirilenko pumped his fist after Brown’s shot bounced in and the fans gave him a loud round of applause when his triple-double was shown on the big-screen monitor.
By then, there wasn’t much left to cheer about as Utah had the game all but won. But Sloan added some excitement when he got a technical with 1:21 remaining for berating official Michael Smith.
Sloan told Smith to keep calling technicals, then Utah’s assistants pulled him back to the Jazz bench before he could get ejected.
Matt Bonner made three straight field goals during an 8-2 run that got the Raptors within 38-36 in the second quarter. Bonner finished with 12 points. … Morris Peterson also scored 12 for Toronto and made a stumbling layup while falling down in the lane early in the fourth quarter to get the Raptors within 89-76. … Deron Williams scored 10 for Utah. … Malone had three career triple-doubles and Stockton never accomplished the feat in his 19 regular seasons, although he did do it once in a playoff game against Dallas in 2001.