Camouflage: Jazz make Raptors look like champs
Toronto • In many ways, Dwane Casey can sympathize.
As a head coach with part of two seasons in Minnesota and now in season three with the Toronto Raptors, Casey has never finished with a winning record. Sitting on a losing mark coming into Saturday's game against the Utah Jazz, Casey said he understood the struggles Jazz coach Ty Corbin and his team have endured so far this year.
"We're both in a rebuilding situation," Casey said before the game "I don't think anybody predicted either of us to win a championship. We're in a situation where we have to develop young players and that's not easy. That's not easy to do it. It takes patience. Ty has a lot of patience."
Saturday at Air Canada Centre, the Jazz made the Raptors look like title contenders, for one night at least, in a 115-91 blowout that showed just how difficult a rebuild can be Â and just how much patience will be needed this year.
That doesn't mean it won't hurt.
The Jazz have said all season they are prepared to take their lumps. "[But] not these kind of lumps," Corbin said as his team, the NBA's only winless squad, dropped to 0-7. "I don't think we showed up with the intensity we needed to compete against these guys â¦ There were times we may have felt a little sorry for ourselves out there tonight."
The Jazz looked flat from the beginning as they closed out their East Coast road trip. Toronto, also playing its fourth game in five nights, looked anything but.
Behind nine first-quarter points from guard Kyle Lowry and 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point territory, Toronto pushed the lead to 14 by the end of the period.
That margin grew to 20 the fourth straight game Utah has trailed by at least that many Â before Toronto's top scorer, Rudy Gay, got his first bucket.
Forward Tyler Hansbrough scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds coming off the bench for Toronto, helping the Raptors' reserves outscored Utah's 56-30.
Utah guard Alec Burks, whom Corbin considered starting Saturday but feared what would become of his bench production if he did, scored 17 points.
Before forward Mike Harris scored a layup with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter, only five Jazz players had found their way onto the scoreboard. Gordon Hayward scored 24 points and snatched seven rebounds. Derrick Favors had 17 points and center Enes Kanter chipped in 14.
The losses have piled up early for the Jazz more in one stretch than Kanter or point guard John Lucas III can ever remember in their careers.
"I don't think I've ever lost three games in a row," starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley said. "It's frustrating for me and I hope everybody else in this locker room is frustrated. â¦ We're all in it together. We can't point fingers."
In a rebuilding season, when most of Utah's victories are expected to be of the moral variety, there is always the chance that mounting losses could stunt development.
"I hope not," Corbin said. "That's always a concern. I've been on young teams. I've been on expansion teams in this league. You have to fight against it, man. You have to do everything you can not to allow that to creep in because it's a long season."
The losses are indeed difficult, Casey said.
"You don't grow through losing, but that's part of starting young is losing," Casey said. "Experience wins in the league. Talent wins in the league. Experienced talent wins in this league. To go through [a rebuild] you've probably got to take some lumps, and you have to remind yourself of that as an organization."
Raptors 115, Jazz 91
R Toronto goes 4 for 6 from beyond the arc in the first quarter as the Raptors build up a 30-16 lead.
•Â Gordon Hayward scores 24 points and grabs seven rebounds in the loss.