Jazz destroy Raptors in Triano's debutDec 6, 2008 - 7:22 AM By Matthew Piper PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- If Jay Triano's first game is any indication, the Toronto Raptors' problems are far from over after the firing of head coach Sam Mitchell.
Deron Williams had 14 points and five assists, while Mehmet Okur added 21 points as the Utah Jazz raced to a 114-87 drubbing of the Raptors on Friday.
The margin of victory was the Jazz's largest of the season.
"It's the first game with different roles on offense and defense," said Toronto point guard Jose Calderon, who had 10 points and eight assists. "We played against a pretty good team (in) the Jazz, so we knew it was going to be tough tonight. I think we feel comfortable doing the things that Jay wants us to do. It was just too fast."
Williams appeared closer to prime condition in his sixth game back from an ankle injury. The Olympic gold medalist attacked the opposing basket early and finished with 10 points in the first quarter on his way to a season-high scoring output.
"He's playing much better," Utah head coach Jerry Sloan said. "He played more like the Deron Williams we've seen until he hurt his ankle. Everybody has to learn how to adapt to those things when they happen. He's done that. For some people it takes a little bit longer, and that's fine, I don't have a problem with that."
Despite trailing 10-4 early in the first quarter, the Jazz countered with a 17-0 flurry that saw Okur - coming off a frustrating, six-point effort against Miami - tally nine points.
Toronto fell into a pattern of perimeter jumpers and the Jazz continued to run off long rebounds.
"They were missing some shots (and) we got in the open court pretty well," Sloan said. "I think the desire to pass the ball really goes a long way."
Veteran forwards Matt Harpring and Kyle Korver came off the bench to give Utah 16 points and help extend its advantage during the second quarter.
Harpring, who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in 11 minutes, was coming off a four-game absence and an epidural injection in his lower back on Monday that Sloan jokingly shrugged off following the win.
"Myself, I've had about eight of them," the coach said. "I come back every day, Matt's not that tough."
"It's good to get back on the court, honestly," the 11th-year forward said. "My body felt better tonight and it just moved better. It's fun when you can get on the court and move like that and be without pain."
Toronto struggled to establish any consistency in the third quarter as the Jazz came out of halftime with a level of energy they were missing in two previous home losses to New Jersey and Miami.
"We played against a team that is going to have high intensity all of the time and I think that our guys, for the most part, we have been through a lot in the last couple of days trying to relearn things," Triano said. "I think until it becomes a natural thing for us to just flow, we are going to look a little lethargic like that."
Jermaine O'Neal (10 points, five rebounds) echoed his coach's hopefulness.
"We put in pretty much a new offensive system yesterday and a defensive system today," O'Neal said. "We've got to give it time."
For its part, Utah wasn't about to make it three straight losses at EnergySolutions Arena for the first time since April 14, 2007.
Paul Millsap had 17 points and 11 rebounds to notch his seventh straight double-double since getting his first start on November 24 against Chicago. He also had a career-high seven assists.
"In college, I didn't pass too much," Millsap said. "I had to try to take advantage of guys. I think this might be my career high in assists, ever."
The third-year forward out of Louisiana Tech earned a rare moment of gushing praise from the stoic Sloan.
"Paul Millsap, going into the game facing Chris Bosh, I mean he's played some really tough guys," Sloan said. "His play's just been outstanding, trying to hold us in there. And the way he played tonight - going after the ball relentlessly, finding rebounds, doing whatever he has to do - it's really been fun to watch. I can't say enough about him."
Bosh had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost their third straight game by at least 13 points.
Toronto was coming off a 132-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Mitchell was fired on Wednesday and replaced by Triano, who became the first Canadian-born head coach in the NBA.
UTAH 114 FINAL
Dec 6 12:54 AM
UTAH 91 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 6 12:23 AM
UTAH 64 HALFTIME
Dec 5 11:38 PM
UTAH 33 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 5 11:07 PM
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