Raptors-Jazz Preview

The Associated Press

The Toronto Raptors snapped what had previously been their longest current losing streak against one opponent. One night later, they face the same challenge against a different team.

Coming off their first victory in just over two weeks, the visiting Raptors look to avoid a 13th consecutive loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

Not only did Toronto (5-13) snap its eight-game overall losing streak with a 99-96 win at Phoenix on Tuesday, but it ended a 14-game skid against the Suns.

"Everybody played good together," said Toronto forward Andrea Bargnani, who scored 36 points in his first game after missing the previous six with a strained left calf. "We want to keep playing like this and having fun."

With both of those dubious droughts in the past, the Raptors can now focus on trying to end a 12-game losing streak to Utah (10-5) - currently the club's longest against one opponent. That's also the Jazz's longest active winning streak against any team.

Toronto, which last beat the Jazz 98-86 at home Dec. 22, 2004, has dropped six in a row at Utah since a 104-95 win there Nov, 10, 2004.

Though the Raptors rode a stellar performance from Bargnani while posting their second-highest point total of the season Tuesday, they could be in for a major challenge as they try to post back-to-back wins for only the second time in 2011-12.

The Jazz have averaged 104.4 points and shot 50.4 percent while going 12-3 all-time at home against the Raptors. Utah also has won nine of 11 overall since a 1-3 start.

Paul Millsap had 26 points with nine rebounds while Al Jefferson added 18 with 12 boards as the Jazz improved to 8-2 at home with a 108-98 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.

"We're just trying to get better and trying to win games," Millsap said.

Millsap remains a big reason for Utah's success, averaging 22.0 points and 9.1 rebounds in the last seven games.

"Paul just continues to work to get better," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "As a result, we're better because he's so effective on the floor. He's been doing it all year."

Millsap had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists during a 125-108 home win over Toronto on Nov. 3, 2010.

Averaging 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds, Jefferson has scored 27.7 points per game in his last three contests against the Raptors. He had 34 in a 96-94 victory at Toronto on March 9.

Bargnani missed that game for the Raptors, but posted 26 points and nine rebounds at Utah last season.

Averaging a career-high 23.4 points this season, the 7-foot Bargnani scored 18 and went 4 of 5 from 3-point range during the third quarter Tuesday.

"Andrea coming back makes everything easier for everybody else,'' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He opens up the lane for (Leandro Barbosa) for layups, James (Johnson) to get in the lane and get offensive boards. He is kind of the hub for everybody to play off of.''

Bargnani has averaged 26.3 points during his last six road games.

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