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Utah at Toronto

Jazz top Raptors on Jefferson's buzzer-beating layup

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- The struggling Utah Jazz needed someone to come through in the clutch. Al Jefferson fit the role perfectly.

Jefferson scored 34 points, including a game-winning basket at the buzzer, and the Jazz rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Toronto 96-94 on Wednesday, extending their winning streak over the Raptors to 12 games.

"It's a perfect example there that you're never out of the game, no matter how many points you get down," Jefferson said. "You've just got to keep playing, give it all you got and you never know how things will turn around for you."

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C.J. Miles and Devin Harris each scored 23 points for Utah, which has not lost to the Raptors since a 98-86 defeat in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2004.

Tied 94-all with 17 seconds to play, the Jazz held the ball until Harris drove for a layup. His shot missed but Jefferson tipped the shot back in as the horn sounded.

"I had a good look, but Big Al came out of nowhere like Superman," Harris said.

Jefferson saw it as something else.

"I just got my hand on the ball and I tipped it up," he said. "The basketball God was on our side tonight, that's all I've got to say."

The Jazz started walking off the floor in celebration before the referees called them back to review the play. The basket was ruled good and the game was over.

DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points and Sonny Weems had 16 as Toronto lost for the fifth time in six games. Jose Calderon scored 14 points and Ed Davis had 12 for the Raptors, who have lost 22 of 26.

The Jazz, who had lost nine of 11 entering the game, trailed 86-72 with 8:21 to play before turning it around behind 10 fourth quarter points from Miles, including back-to-back 3-pointers.

A jump shot by Weems put the Raptors up by 14 before consecutive baskets from Miles sparked the Utah comeback.

After a basket from Leandro Barbosa, consecutive 3-pointers from Earl Watson and Harris trimmed it to 88-82 with 5:00 remaining.

Weems made a pair of free throws but Miles hit 3s on back-to-back trips, cutting it to 90-88 with 3:25 to play.

DeRozan made one of two from the line but a driving layup from Harris and a rebound and layup by Jefferson gave Utah a 92-91 lead. After Calderon missed a 3, Jefferson hit a turnaround jumper, putting the Jazz up 94-91 with a minute to play.

Barbosa's 3 tied it with 43 seconds left, but Jefferson's efforts gave Utah an important win as they chase the West's final playoff spot.

"Tonight was a big win for us," Utah's Raja Bell said. "That was huge having been down (14) in the fourth quarter and finding a way to gut that out. That was big for a team like us that really needed a win."

Paul Millsap (left knee) and Andrei Kirilenko (back), who both left Monday's loss at New York, did not start for Utah. Rookie Jeremy Evans made his first career start in place of Millsap, with Miles taking Kirilenko's spot.

The injury-ravaged Jazz were also without Francisco Elson (left knee), Mehmet Okur (back) and Ronnie Price (right foot).

Kyrylo Fesenko, who had missed four of the previous six games with a sore back, returned to Utah's lineup.

Toronto was without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, who was away from the team with flulike symptoms. Davis started in Bargnani's place.

Toronto's Reggie Evans, who had 11 rebounds, returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a broken bone in his right foot in a Nov. 26 loss at Boston.

"He was a little rusty but I was pleased with his energy and his effort," Raptors coach Jay Triano said.

Toronto lost Amir Johnson to a sprained left ankle midway through the first quarter when he landed on Utah's Derrick Favors and fell to the ground in pain. After icing the ankle, Johnson was evaluated at the half but did not return.

Miles scored 11 points in the first and Jefferson added 10 as the Jazz overcame an early seven-point deficit to lead 31-26 after 12 minutes.

Toronto took the lead with a 17-7 run to start the second before Utah recovered, with the Jazz holding a narrow 52-50 lead at the half. DeRozan and Weems each scored seven points in the second for the Raptors.

The Jazz missed 10-of-11 shots over the final five minutes of the third, with Toronto using a 14-2 run over that span to take a 78-70 lead into the fourth.

Notes

  • Jefferson had eight rebounds.
  • Utah F Marcus Cousins, who signed a 10-day contract Tuesday, made his Jazz debut but didn't even have a name stitched on the back of his jersey.
  • Raptors C Alexis Ajinca (right knee) did not play.
  • Toronto assigned C Solomon Alabi to Erie of the D-League.
  • The Raptors, in their 16th season, had never faced a Jazz team coached by anyone other than Jerry Sloan.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Al Jefferson drives against Amir Johnson, finishing with 34 points and the game-winning layup to rally the Jazz from 14 down. (Getty Images)
Al Jefferson drives against Amir Johnson, finishing with 34 points and the game-winning layup to rally the Jazz from 14 down. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Utah (34-31) «3121182696
Toronto (17-46)2624281694
UTA:A. Jefferson 34 Pts
UTA:A. Jefferson 8 Reb
UTA:D. Harris 5 Ast
TOR:D. DeRozan 17 Pts
TOR:R. Evans 11 Reb
TOR:J. Calderon 6 Ast
Players of the Game
UtahToronto

Al Jefferson

DeMar DeRozan
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
34821782
Utah
R. Bell, SG452-80-02345
A. Jefferson, C4217-240-082234
D. Harris, PG398-195-725123
C. Miles, SF349-173-374223
J. Evans, SF151-40-05132
E. Watson, PG211-30-00233
D. Favors, PF181-31-25333
G. Hayward, SF160-30-02100
K. Fesenko, C101-41-22013
M. Cousin, PF10-00-00000
F. Elson, CDid Not Play
A. Kirilenko, SFDid Not Play
M. Okur, CDid Not Play
R. Price, PGDid Not Play
P. Millsap, PFDid Not Play
Totals 40-8510-1433211996
 47.1%71.4% 
Toronto
E. Davis, PF365-132-231212
D. DeRozan, SG334-169-1182217
J. Calderon, PG307-120-026314
J. Johnson, PF183-41-12347
A. Johnson, SF81-30-02002
R. Evans, PF331-20-411032
S. Weems, SG236-102-250216
L. Barbosa, SG222-82-21207
J. Bayless, PG224-60-01429
J. Dorsey, PF123-50-05026
J. Wright, SF30-02-21002
L. Kleiza, SFDid Not Play
A. Bargnani, CDid Not Play
A. Ajinca, CDid Not Play
Totals 36-7918-2441182094
 45.6%75.0% 
Other Games
GS 90 Final
NJ 94
OKC 110 Final
Phi 105
Chi 101 Final
Char 84
LAC 108 Final
Bos 103
Dal 92 Final
NO 93
Cle 90 Final
Mil 110
Ind 75 Final
Min 101
NY 110 Final
Mem 108
Det 104 Final
SA 111
Orl 106 Final
Sac 102