Jazz beat Raptors for 11th straight
Toronto » Even if they were allowed to bring their 10-game winning streak across the border into Canada, the Jazz still felt as if they had to start over in a sense with Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors in proving they could win on the road.
"Yeah, for sure," Kyle Korver said. "Most of our wins were at home and we're tired of hearing about how we can't win on the road and trying to make up some kind of an answer about why we win at home and not on the road."
Home or away, the Jazz officially made it a full month without a loss, extending their winning streak to 11 games with a 109-101 victory at Air Canada Centre. It is the Jazz's longest winning streak of the post-John Stockton/Karl Malone era.
With an early 12:30 p.m. EDT start, Deron Williams fell asleep on the training table 50 minutes before tipoff, but led the Jazz with 25 points and nine assists. The Jazz trailed by eight with 10 minutes remaining, but rallied to win the fourth quarter 28-14.
The Jazz's last loss came a month ago Sunday as they fell 116-96 at Golden State on Feb. 8. Their winning streak now equals the fourth-longest in franchise history and is the longest since an 11-game streak in April 1999.
"It's something we need, something we talked about," Williams said. "We need to put together like a 12-, 15-game winning streak. We're doing it, we just need some other teams to lose and we've got to keep winning."
The Jazz (40-23) opened their five-game trip with a victory and improved to 12-17 on the road. They have won three consecutive road games for the first time all season, especially important considering 12 of their remaining 19 games are on the road.
"Not to take anything away from them," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of the 23-41 Raptors, "but if we're going to play at a higher level, we've got to beat teams like that every time we play, every time we step out there on the floor."
Playing without Carlos Boozer, who sprained his right ankle in the first quarter of Friday's victory over Denver, the Jazz gave up 39 points to Toronto in the third quarter and trailed 89-81 with 10:06 to play after Jason Kapono's jumper.
Kapono, however, was whistled for a foul only nine seconds into the quarter and the Raptors paid the price, spending the final 8:21 in the penalty. The Jazz erased Toronto's lead with a 16-4 run in which the whistles and bounces twice went in their favor.
After Williams stripped Anthony Parker in the backcourt, Andrei Kirilenko hit a layup as part of a three-point play. Parker argued that Kirilenko should have been called for an offensive foul for fending him off his arm, with Kirilenko agreeing afterward.
"That call, probably it's the wrong call," Kirilenko said, "but again, I didn't do it intentionally because I get the ball on the [break] and he was right on my waist so I have to separate somehow. It could be a charge, could be a defensive foul."
Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh put a charge in the crowd by diving after a loose ball, but Joey Graham might as well have been given an assist when he won the subsequent jump ball but hit Kirilenko perfectly to start a break the other way.
Williams, meanwhile, controlled the fourth quarter with nine points and three assists. He attacked the basket and dunked for one of the first times since spraining his ankle in the preseason, then spun around Calderon in driving for a layup.
He lobbed a pass to Paul Millsap along the baseline for a layup, drained a 22-footer over Andrea Bargnani with 1:35 to play and went up for another jumper before sliding a pass to Mehmet Okur cutting for a layup.
Korver scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half, but blocked and stripped Bosh helping out on defense in the final four minutes. Bosh led Toronto with 30 points and 10 rebounds, but scored only six in the fourth quarter.
With the Jazz beating Houston, Denver and Toronto, Williams could earn Western Conference Player of the Week honors for the first time. Sloan, meanwhile, was expecting to arrive in Indianapolis after Sunday's early start with time to see his six grandchildren.
"We've weathered a lot of the storm to try to hang in there," Sloan said. "Now if we can keep everybody together and keep everybody healthy, I think we'll be competitive as we come down the stretch. I think we'll win on the road hopefully better than what we have."
In Short » The Jazz extend their NBA-best winning streak to 11 games in beating Toronto to open a five-game trip.
Key moment » Andrei Kirilenko fends off Anthony Parker with his arm, but he draws the call for a three-point play in the fourth quarter.
Key stat » Williams has averaged 25.3 points and 11.3 assists in the Jazz's three victories in the last week.
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