Toronto • Al Jefferson is Al Jefferson's biggest believer. He taught everybody everything they know about everything, including shooting 3-pointers.
One week before he made his second career 3 to send the Jazz to overtime in an eventual 140-133 triple-overtime win over Toronto, Jefferson saw an opening to remind everyone of this fact. He sat at his locker in Memphis, and his ears perked when he heard Paul Millsap talking about the development of his own 3-point shot.
"First of all," the ebullient Jefferson butted in, "I would be leading the team if I shot 3s myself. I'm a better 3-point shooter than this guy. I'll prove it anytime."
The two picked a strange time to stage a public 3-point shooting contest, but the Jazz (4-4) were the benefactors Monday night, earning their first road win of the season in front of an announced crowd of 18,230 at the Air Canada Centre.
After the Jazz, as Jefferson called it, "BS'd the whole game" against the depleted Raptors (1-6), they rallied from 11 down in the fourth quarter to tie the game on Jefferson's 3. Millsap, meanwhile, made 3-pointers in each of the overtime periods, including one in the third OT that put the Jazz on top 134-130 with 2:16 remaining.
Millsap led the Jazz with 34 points and nine rebounds, while Jefferson tallied 24 points and 17 rebounds. It was Jefferson's fifth double-double of the season.
"Paul made some big 3s, man," said Jazz guard Randy Foye, who made a team-high four 3s and finished with 20 points off the bench. "Paul was the MVP of the game, he played some great 'D' at the end. Al, I threw him the ball [at the end of regulation], he knocked down a big shot, then he hit another shot that hit off the backboard [to put the Jazz up 138-131]."
Seven Jazz players scored in double figures, including point guard Mo Williams who finished with 17 points and a season-high 14 assists. Williams missed Saturday's win over the Suns with a strained adductor, the groin muscle that pulls his right leg in.
Williams missed a deep 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in regulation, but Jefferson corralled the rebound to give the Jazz one final shot. His shot.
The Jazz improved to 3-2 all-time in games that lasted three or more overtimes, including last year's four-overtime loss at Atlanta.
"I thought that brought us together more," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "It showed us that if we stay together and continue to fight and know what we're going on the floor and communicating with each other we can play against anybody anywhere."
And it won't hurt if the Jazz are getting perimeter shooting from their big guys. Millsap improved his season shooting to 8-of-12 from 3. Still, Jefferson, teasingly, was not impressed.
"You ain't been in practice when me and him have a 3-point contest," Jefferson said. "I have beat him twice out of 100 times. It doesn't matter. I beat him twice."
No matter who shot it best, the Jazz were just happy to earn a road win. They had played games this season at New Orleans, San Antonio, Memphis and Denver and come up short each time.
"The first one seems like it's the toughest one," Millsap said.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 37 points on 16-of-33 shooting and played a game-high 60 minutes. Andrea Bargnani scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half and was rendered ineffective when Corbin switched Derrick Favors onto the former No. 1 overall pick.
Favors, in just his third year with the Jazz, has played in three of the Jazz's five all-time triple-plus overtime games.
"It's exciting, man," he said. "It's tiring, but it's exciting. I love it."
The Raptors led 97-86 with 7:01 remaining in the fourth quarter following a hook shot by Amir Johnson. The Jazz battled back, but did not lead until early in the first overtime when Millsap made two free throws to go up 106-104.
The Jazz nearly won in double overtime, but John Lucas made a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds remaining to tie the game at 125.
"They did a great job of just hanging in," Corbin said, "and fighting and scratching. We made mistakes, but they stayed together, kept supporting each other. That's what you're going to need on the road, is to fight through all your mistakes."
Storylines Headed in the right direction
R After losing their first four road games, the Jazz break the streak.
• Led by Paul Millsap's 34 points, seven Jazz players reach double figures, including three with 20 or more.