Clarkson, Markkanen help Jazz rally past Raptors


TORONTO – Reserve guard Jordan Clarkson scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter as the Utah Jazz rallied past the Toronto Raptors 126-119 on Saturday.

Lauri Markkanen had nine of his 30 in the fourth as part of Utah’s (12-18) comeback.

Scottie Barnes had a double-double with 14 rebounds and matched his career high of 32 points as Toronto (11-18) lost its third straight despite leading for the first three quarters. OG Anunoby added 19 points.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and nine rebounds in his 500th career game for the Raptors.

He joined DeMar DeRozan (675), Kyle Lowry (601), Morris Peterson (542), José Calderón (525) and Chris Bosh (509) as the only players to appear in 500 games with Toronto.

Clarkson made a step-back jumper with 15.1 seconds left in the first quarter to cut Toronto’s lead to 34-31. Barnes had 17 points, including three three-pointers, in the quarter.

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It was a new career-high in points for Barnes in a first quarter, topping the 15 he had in Los Angeles against the Lakers on March 14, 2022.

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Anunoby’s two-handed dunk with 5:24 left in the second brought the 19,420 at Scotiabank Arena to their feet and capped off a 12-2 run that extended Toronto’s lead to 16 points. The Raptors held a 71-55 lead at intermission.

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Gary Trent Jr. drilled a three-pointer for the final score of the third quarter as Toronto maintained its edge over the visitors to take a 98-85 lead into the final frame.

Utah opened the fourth with a 10-0 run to pull within three points of the Raptors until Barnes dished out his fifth assist of the night to Chris Boucher, who sank a corner three with 9:04 to go.

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The Jazz didn’t relent, however, with Clarkson making a put-back tip shot to tie it 104-104 with 6:44 to go. After a Raptors timeout, Markkanen made a field goal for Utah’s first lead of the game.

Schroeder responded with an 18-foot jumper to tie it up, but Markkanen had his own jumper and then Ochal Agbaji hit two free throws for a four-point Jazz lead.

Markkanen and Clarkson poured it on with back-to-back threes as Utah had another run in the fourth.

Barnes made a two-foot shot to match his career high and breathe life into the Raptors faithful. But with the crowd loudly chanting “DE-FENCE!” Siakam fouled Clarkson beyond the arc and the Jazz guard made all three of his free throws for a nine-point lead with 91 seconds left in the game.

Clarkson hit another three with 29 seconds left to play as fans started heading for the exits.

Siakam had a layup, but Sexton made his two free throws, before Toronto point guard Dennis Schroder sank a three-pointer for the game’s final score.

OLYNYK HOMECOMING — Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk, who was born in Toronto but raised in Kamloops, B.C., said tickets to Saturday’s game were in high demand amongst his family and friends.

“Basically, as many as you can get,” said Olynyk. “If I could buy two more I could have two more people here.”

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UP NEXT — The Raptors have a small break for Christmas before heading to Washington to face the Wizards on Wednesday.

Utah continues its road trip with a stop in San Antonio on Boxing Day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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