Jazz suffer first loss of the season

Boozer scores 19, but Utah falls short vs. Toronto

Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - After struggling from the floor for the first 46 minutes, Toronto's Rafer Alston was perfect when the Raptors needed him most.

Alston's 3-pointer gave Toronto a seven-point lead with 2 minutes remaining Wednesday night and the Raptors held on for a 104-95 victory over the Jazz, Utah's first loss of the season.

"That hurt 'em. That was a real big shot right there," said Chris Bosh, who led the Raptors with 20 points.

Bosh scored eight in the final quarter as Toronto rallied from a six-point deficit. The Raptors were blown out the night before 108-92 at Sacramento, but made sure they got their first road win of the season with a strong start and an even stronger finish.

The Raptors were playing so well in the final period, Vince Carter only played three minutes. Toronto was just fine without him.

"It wasn't my idea, but those guys were playing well. They were moving the ball. They were getting good shots," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "I just felt like they earned the right to be on the court."

After the Jazz blew the six-point lead, Juneau-Douglas High School grad Carlos Boozer got the home crowd back into it on a dunk that cut Toronto's lead to 95-91. But the Raptors didn't get rattled and, at the other end, Alston calmly hit a 25-footer from the top of the key to put the lead back at seven.

Toronto hadn't won at Utah since November 2001.

"I had a tough time getting into the game. I had some bad shots, which is unlike me," said Alston, who was 3-for-11 from the floor and 2-of-6 from 3-point range.

Vince Carter had 16 points and Alston added seven rebounds for Toronto, which outscored Utah 56-38 inside and took advantage of the Jazz's worst shooting night of the season.

Utah (4-1) failed to score 100 points and shoot better than 50 percent for the first time this season. The Jazz were 33-of-80 (41 percent) from the field and made 27 of 35 free throws.

"They played awfully well. They played hard. They played intelligent. They got the baskets right where they wanted them," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Any time a team can march inside and be able to score ... well, it's pretty tough to win."

Raja Bell led Utah with 20 points and Boozer added 19. Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur each had 10 rebounds for Utah.

Loren Woods had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who were called for 32 fouls to Utah's 21 and only had 15 free-throw attempts, but made 14. They went 7-for-7 from the line in the fourth quarter.

The Raptors forced the Jazz to rush shots as they tried to rally after Toronto's big run in the fourth. Bosh scored four points and Lamond Murray had five as Toronto turned an 84-78 deficit into an 89-84 lead.

"We need to realize how important defense is, not just try to outscore the other team," Sloan said.

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