Siakam scores 35 to lead Raptors past Jazz for 7th straight win

Pascal Siakam had 35 points as the Toronto Raptors crushed the Utah Jazz 130-110 on Sunday in a game that was all but over before the second half even started.

The Raptors (15-4) stretched their season-high winning streak to seven games. They have yet to lose in nine games this season at Scotiabank Arena.

The Raptors had eight players score in double figures against a Jazz team that arrived boasting the league’s fifth-best defence.

Fred VanVleet finished with 21 points and 11 assists, Norman Powell chipped in with 15 points, Serge Ibaka had 13 in his first game since missing 10 with an ankle injury, Terence Davis also had 13, Marc Gasol scored all 11 of his points in the first quarter, and OG Anunoby and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 10 apiece.

Mike Conley had 20 points to lead Utah (12-8).

The Jazz led for the game’s first four minutes, but looked helpless as the Raptors took off on a 23-2 run. The Jazz scored nine points in the first four minutes. The Raptors scored 72 points over the next 20, building a 21-point lead in the first quarter, and stretching it to 40 by halftime — 77-37 — the biggest halftime lead in Raptors history, and the biggest in the league this season.

It’s also tied for the eighth biggest halftime lead in NBA history, and the largest deficit at the break ever for Utah.

Utah finally found its form in the third quarter, shooting 60 per cent and paring Toronto’s lead briefly to 16 points.

Trailing by 21 to start the fourth, Utah managed to pull within 16 again, but when Anunoby took off for an alley-oop from VanVleet, swinging on the rim to the delight of the Scotiabank Arena crowd, the highlight-reel play had Toronto back up by 20.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse was able to empty his bench over the game’s final minutes.

Standing ovation for Ibaka

Ibaka got a standing ovation when he checked in late in the first quarter, in his first game after missing 10 with an ankle strain. Ibaka played 23 minutes, and provided some humour late in the game when he mistakenly threw a pass at VanVleet, who was on the bench but hadn’t yet sat down.

Kyle Lowry fractured his left thumb in the same Nov. 8 game in New Orleans which Ibaka was injured, and while Nurse had hoped to have Lowry back Sunday as well, the Raptors coach said the all-star point guard would undergo “one more fitness test.”

Gasol led the way with 11 points, including three three-pointers, in the first quarter for the Raptors, and Toronto led 37-20 to start the second.

Toronto held Utah to a woeful 5-for-25 shooting in a second quarter in which the Raptors seemingly couldn’t miss. Hollis-Jefferson shimmied in celebration when his shot bounced four times on the rim before falling about four minutes into the quarter. Toronto shot 61 per cent in the frame.

The Jazz hit 16 of their first 19 shots in the third. They went 8-for-10 from long distance, and when Joe Ingles drained a three-pointer with 2:42 left in the frame, it cut Toronto’s lead to just 16. The Jazz outscored Toronto 49-30 in the quarter, and Toronto took a 107-86 advantage into the fourth.

The Raptors have won 11 of their last 13 games against the Jazz.

The game tipped off a busy December home schedule for the Raptors. They play 11 of their 16 games this month at Scotiabank Arena. Canadian Kelly Olynyk and the Miami Heat are in town on Tuesday.



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