Markkanen, Conley power Jazz to 131-128 win over Raptors
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Conley added a three-point play and two clutch free throws in the closing minutes to lift the Utah Jazz to a 131-128 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Toronto's Fred VanVleet had his second career triple-double with 34 points, a career-best 12 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Jazz overcame that effort by shooting 53% and making key play after key play down the stretch.
Conley, who had 19 points and eight assists, drew Pascal Siakam’s sixth foul on a head fake and completed a three-point play to give the Jazz a 120-113 lead with 2:13 remaining. VanVleet kept the Raptors close with his 3-point shooting, but the Raptors couldn’t complete the comeback effort.
Conley’ hit two free throws with 12.2 seconds left to seal the win and the Jazz who moved above .500 at 27-26.
Jordan Clarkson scored seven of his 23 points in the final 1:39 and Walker Kessler added 17 points, 14 rebounds and matched a career best with seven blocked shots for Utah, which has won five of its last seven games.
Siakam scored 21 before fouling out, Gary Trent Jr. had 20 points and the Raptors stayed in the game with a season-high with 25 offensive rebounds.
Kessler had NBA season-best six blocked shots in the first quarter, tying the franchise record that Mark Eaton set on Feb. 18, 1989, against San Antonio. Eaton had six blocks in both the second and fourth quarter and 14 overall in that game.
VanVleet had his first career triple-double last season (37 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds) against the Jazz on Jan. 7.
The Jazz, at times, showed their youth — failing to box out for rebounds, turning the ball over and slow getting back on defense, which led to 28 fast-break points for Toronto.
Malik Beasley had four 3s and all 14 of his points in the first half as the Jazz led by as many as 14 points. The Raptors cut it to 65-60 at the break, thanks to 15 points off Utah’s 11 turnovers. Toronto had just two giveaways and 15 offensive rebounds in the same span.
Raptors: Scottie Barnes was announced Tuesday as part of the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars, which will be played in Utah on Feb. 17. … VanVleet was called for a rare eight-second halfcourt violation in the third quarter. … O.G. Anunoby missed his third straight game with a left wrist sprain.
Jazz: Detroit Lion Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson sat courtside. … Conley was initially signaled for a technical foul, which would have been his first in 16 seasons, but it was changed and assessed to Kelly Olynyk. … Kessler will also play in the Rising Stars game.
Raptors: Continue seven-game road trip – their longest since 2007 -- at Houston on Friday.
Jazz: Host Atlanta on Friday.
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Matthew Coles, The Associated Press