SALT LAKE CITY — Midway through the third quarter, DeMar DeRozan was frustrated. He’d been sloppy with the ball and was letting his team down.
“I feel like I was just making lots of mental mistakes and I was determined to pick it up,” he said.
A four-point play sparked DeRozan and he went on to score a season-high 37 points as the Toronto Raptors finished their longest road trip of the season Friday night with a 109-100 victory over the Utah Jazz.
“My teammates just kept pounding it in my head that I had it going and I just had to keep it going. It definitely felt good,” DeRozan said.
The three-time All-Star made all 14 of his free throws and added a trio of 3-pointers to complement his trademark mid-range offensive game and overcome six turnovers. 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 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.
“We were moving the ball really well,” Powell said. “We had a lot more flow and pace to our offense. We kept them guessing and guys were able to knock down open looks.”
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.
“Tonight I had zero assists and I’m not happy about that at all. I’m not worried about how many points I scored. I didn’t find any of my open teammates,” Mitchell said.
Powell matched his season high with 15 points and Kyle Lowry 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.
“He did a really good job of getting to the free throw line, attacking the defense, being physical, initiating contact, getting them on the pump fake,” Casey said of his star shooting guard.
Toronto shot 54 percent and didn’t seem fazed by shot blocker Rudy Gobert or the NBA’s second-stingiest defense.
Raptors: Toronto was the only Eastern Conference team to have a winning record in road games against Western Conference clubs last season, and has done so for four straight years. … Toronto and Utah lead the NBA with seven international players on each team. … The 109 points marked the most scored against Utah this season. … Hood was called for a Flagrant 2 foul on Jakob Poeltl in the fourth quarter after retaliating for a hard bump. Poeltl missed both free throws.
Jazz: F Joe Johnson is out at least a couple of weeks with a right wrist injury. … Before the game, Utah coach Quin Snyder acknowledged the Raptors’ long road trip and said: “We want to take advantage. If we are the fresher team, let’s be the fresher team.” But the Raptors certainly didn’t look fatigued. … Utah had only 11 assists.
DeRozan, a 28 percent 3-point shooter for his career, has often avoided long-range shots. He went 3 for 7 against the Jazz and said, “I don’t think about it. Me, I’ve never made it a big deal to shoot 3s, but I never felt like I couldn’t. … I never look if I’m behind the line or in front of it.”
The Raptors were happy to get their longest trip out of the way at the beginning of the season. “We’ve been going for two weeks … but to finish like this is going to do a lot for our confidence,” DeRozan said. “It was a seesaw first road trip for us but we can go back home and say, ‘Hey, we made it through and we can be better next time around.’ To have that type of feeling after this trip is definitely good.”
THE LANE IS OPEN
In allowing a season high for points, the Jazz struggled in doing what they do best. “Well, it wasn’t the best defensive effort. That’s got to be there for us,” Snyder said. “A lot of individual breakdowns where guys were getting beat put us in some compromising positions and they were able to score. We’re not going to win if we don’t play defense better than that.”
Raptors: Finally return home to host Washington on Sunday evening.
Jazz: Visit the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
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