Raptors end streak, keep Jazz winless

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors snapped their own three-game losing streak but in the process just made things worse for the Utah Jazz.
The Raptors, who led by as many as 38 points and never trailed in the game, kept the Jazz winless in their first seven games of the season with Saturday's 115-91 victory.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey appreciated the 48-minute effort by the Raptors, something that he has wanted from his team.
"No matter who you play you've got to give it 48," Casey said. "That's what this league is about -- playing hard for 48 minutes, making sure we're playing the game the right way. We kept our defensive focus, we did a good job of that. "
The Jazz have lost seven games in a row to open the season, the team's worst start since dropping the first 11 games of its inaugural season in 1974-75 in New Orleans.
The Raptors (3-4) also ended a seven-game home losing streak to the Jazz (0-7) with the victory.
"We are where we are, we have some holes," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We just have to play hard and let things work themselves out. We have to play better that's the bottom line."
Forward Tyler Hansbrough came off the bench to lead the Raptors with 23 points.
"I thought Tyler Hansbrough was a handful tonight," Casey said. "That's the kind of intensity we need to be a winning program. Every night, not just once a month. What he's doing is contagious."
Guard DeMar DeRozan added 18 points for the Raptors while center Jonas Valanciunas scored 14 and forward Rudy Gay had 11.
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry left the game at half time with a sprained right ankle and did not return. He finished with nine points. He told Casey that it was not serious.
"I felt good tonight, back to back is always hard," Valanciunas said of Saturday's game that followed Friday's loss at Indiana. "It was a tough trip (that included Charlotte), two losses and I'm glad we regrouped and took this one."
Guard Gordon Hayward led with Jazz with 24 points. Forward Derrick Favors and guard Alec Burks each added 17 points while center Enes Kanter had 14.
Kanter said that the continuing losses were frustrating.
"The coach says just to keep working hard and play through it and we're going to get out of it," Kanter said. "That's what we're doing. The thing is when we come out there we just have to think about defense, one quarter there we were down by 30-something. We just have to keep our heads up and keep working on it."
The Jazz entered Saturday with a 25-8 all-time record against the Raptors including a 12-4 advantage in Toronto. The Raptors had not defeated the Jazz at Air Canada Centre since Dec. 22, 2004.
Forward Quincy Acy, getting added playing time in the romp, hit for a 3-pointer nearly two minutes into the fourth quarter to put the Raptors at 100 points for the first time this season as they opened a 35-point lead. Acy finished with nine points as did guard Terrence Ross.
The Raptors were well on their way to that plateau when they entered the second half leading by 26 points.
Toronto stretched the lead to 33 points on a dunk by guard/forward Landry Fields with 4:30 left in the third quarter. DeRozan completed a 3-point play when he made the free throw to make the score 91-60 after three quarters.
The Raptors led by 14 points after one quarter and in slightly more than a minute stretched it to 19 when Hansbrough scored the first five points of the second quarter.
Toronto continued to pour it on. When Acy hit a 3-pointer with 1:53 left in the half, it was 56-28.
When Gay hit a 3-pointer at the end of half, the Raptors took a 62-36 lead into the intermission. It was the Raptors' highest scoring half of the season.
NOTES: The Raptors are the first team since the 1974 Houston Rockets to face an undefeated (Indiana) and winless (Utah) opponent on consecutive nights (minimum five games played), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The game against Utah was the eighth time the Raptors have played on a Saturday night -- usually reserved for the NHL's Maple Leafs -- at Air Canada Centre since the arena opened in 1999. ... The Jazz played Saturday without C Andris Biedrins (left ankle sprain), G Trey Burke (right index finger surgery), F Jeremy Evans (right rotator cuff strain) and G Brandon Rush (left knee rehabilitation). ... The Raptors who played their fourth game in five nights on Saturday will play again Monday against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. ... After playing their fourth consecutive road game Saturday, the Jazz will return home to play the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

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