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Jazz show fight in themselves, rally over Raptors

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Down for much of the game, Utah bit, scratched, and clawed its way to a victory

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

These are the games that lead to premature baldness and heart failure. The Utah Jazz hardly had any business winning this game but pulled out a 106-102 W nonetheless.

Utah being without Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell, it didn’t seem to surprise many that Toronto led for most of the first half. And though they rarely led by more than six, the deficit had the quality of feeling worse because any time Utah closed the gap, the Raptors sprang ahead again. Certainly, one of many moments to define this see-saw relationship came at the end of the first quarter. Jordan Clarkson put down what may have been the dunk of his career...

...only to have a rather sketchy foul called on Rudy Gobert that gave Toronto three free throws (two of which DeAndre’ Bembry would make) and an increased lead going into the second quarter.

But in the third quarter, the Jazz were finally able to make a real move. Down six at the break, Utah stormed ahead to take a 68-67 lead, the team’s first advantage in more than 20 minutes of game time. That lead didn’t last long (Toronto would regain it and hold it through the end of the third) but it proved the Jazz were not put away just yet.

Utah’s offense made a solid push in the third, but its defense helped polish off the comeback in the fourth. The Raptors had scored at least 27 points in each of the first three quarters but managed just 13 in the final frame. Toronto only made two field goals in the final four minutes and change of the game.

Noting Toronto’s lack of offense late should be clarified with the fact that Utah also only made two field goal in the final four minutes. But the Jazz were the ones with the lead, and all they needed to was defend. And when the time came where someone had to ice the game, Rudy Gobert made it happen with one of his classic late-game tip-ins.

Game MVP

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

If Bojan had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a single game, we’d consider that just fine. But that’s what Bogey did in just the first quarter. Without his nigh-on flawless shooting touch, the game might have been over in the first quarter.

By the final buzzer, Bogdanovic had a game-high 34 points. It’s the most he’s had in a game all season and second-most in a Jazz uniform. He’s really been on a tear lately, making up for Mitchell not being out on the court. In the eight games of Donovan’s absence, Bojan is averaging 21.1 points per game.