DeRozan scores 37 as Raptors top Jazz; Nuggets nip Heat
SALT LAKE CITY — DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 37 points and the Toronto Raptors finished their longest road trip of the season Friday night with a 109-100 victory over the Utah Jazz.
DeRozan made all 14 of his free throws and added a trio of 3-pointers to complement his trademark mid-range offensive game. His 17 third-quarter points helped stake the Raptors to a lead they never relinquished in handing the Jazz their first loss in six home games.
Toronto went 3-3 on its Western Conference road swing.
A game after an “embarrassing performance” in a 129-111 loss to Denver, according to Toronto coach Dwane Casey, the Raptors repeatedly got into the lane and found open shooters. They led 99-87 after Norman Powell’s 3-pointer midway through the fourth.
From there, the Raptors let DeRozan go to work on isolation plays that resulted in six straight points as they put the game out of reach.
Rookie guard Donovan Mitchell followed his career-high 28 points on Wednesday with 25 to lead the Jazz. Rodney Hood added 17 points but had another rough shooting night, going 6 for 19.
Powell matched his season high with 15 points and Kyle Lowery also had 15 for Toronto.
The Jazz are stocked with defensive stoppers, but no one could slow DeRozan in the third quarter. He extended his usual range to beyond the arc and scored in a variety of ways to give the Raptors an 89-82 lead entering the final period.
Toronto shot 54 percent and didn’t seem fazed by shot blocker Rudy Gobert or the NBA’s second-stingiest defense.
In Denver, Paul Millsap had 27 points, including three straight free throws with 11.9 seconds remaining, and the Denver Nuggets topped the Miami Heat 95-94 on Friday night.
Nikola Jokic added 19 points and 14 rebounds as the Nuggets shook off some late struggles at the line to win their second straight on a six-game homestand.
Millsap delivered at a key moment. After missing three of his previous four foul shots, the Nuggets’ big offseason acquisition was fouled at the 3-point line by James Johnson and sunk each of his free throws, delighting a lively crowd at the Pepsi Center.
Dion Waiters nearly won it for Miami on the other end with a 3-pointer that rattled in and out in the final second.
Goran Dragic scored 23 points for the Heat. Waiters and Johnson each had 15.
Denver didn’t have a lead until midway through the third quarter when Jokic swished a short jumper to make 65-63. The Nuggets kept the lead until late in the fourth.
In the final minute, Waiters had a driving layup with 30 seconds remaining and Dragic made 1 of 2 from the line to give the Heat a 94-92 lead.
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