Raptors' Rapid Recap - Utah Jazz 96 - Toronto Raptors 94


-Well...you can't say that the Raptors haven't lost some close ones of late.  After a triple-OT loss to the New Jersey Nets last Saturday, the Toronto Raptors followed it up by losing on a buzzer-beater this evening to the Utah Jazz, losing 96 to 94.  Toronto had a sizable lead late in this one again, but a flurry of Jazz perimeter scoring evened things up before Al Jefferson tipped in a Devin Harris miss just as time expired.

-Yep, same old story for the Dinos.  After a Sonny Weems jumper with just over eight minutes left in the match, Toronto had a 14 point lead, 86 to 72, and looked to be on cruise control.  But CJ Miles started to heat up from the perimeter, and Toronto's answer, Leandro Barbosa, missed his next three shots as the Jazz started to crawl back.  The next three minutes were filled with Toronto bricks and all the while, Utah kept chipping away, eventually getting within five points with under four minutes left.  From there, the Jazz kept it in attack mode while Toronto settled for jumper after jumper, until this one was loss number 47 on the year.

-Andrea Bargnani sat this one out with the flu, and in his absence, DeMar DeRozan led the team in scoring with 17 points.  He had a tough night though from the field hitting only 4 of 16 shots, but you have to give the USC product credit for getting to the line 11 times to make up for it.  His partner in crime Sonny Weems had 16 points off the bench, and Ed Davis and Jose Calderon chipped in 12 and 14 respectively.

-For the Jazz, it was the Al Jefferson show.  Besides the put-back winner he had 34 points and 8 rebounds as there wasn't a Raptor in the ACC that could hold him check.  The funny thing is, besides Devin Harris and CJ Miles, both had 23 points, the Jazz didn't get much else offensively.  Their bench had but 9 points while Toronto's pine crew had 42.  And the rest of the stats were pretty much neck-and-neck, the difference being the Jazz winning out in the hustle and efficiency categories down the stretch, allowing them to grab the W.

-Silver lining?  Well besides the fact that the Raps played another tough one to the finish, and the youngsters (even Joey Dorsey) got meaningful minutes, with Minnesota winning tonight as well as New Jersey, this loss by the Raps now puts them one step away from a top 3 finish in terms of worst record in the league.  So while this was a tough one to swallow from a die-hard fan standpoint, looking at the big picture is a must in this type of season.

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