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Raptors struggle late and drop their third straight in 106-102 loss to Jazz

Photo Credit: Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Bojan Bogdanovic scored a game-high 34 points and the Utah Jazz dominated in the fourth quarter to defeat the Raptors 106-102 tonight. With their 46th win on the season, the playoff-bound Jazz reclaimed their position as the top team in the association while the postseason slips further away from Toronto, having lost four of their past five games.

The two teams battled back-and-forth in an entertaining game with the Raptors leading after each of the first three quarters. While playing extremely well in the first 36 minutes, the Jazz were able to hold Toronto to only 13 points in the fourth on 6/23 shooting as the Raptors collapsed down the stretch, an outcome that has become far too familiar for Raptors fans this season.

With several key players sidelined on both teams, the Jazz bench provided a spark all night, outscoring the Raptors bench 32-13. Jordan Clarkson scored 15 points, while Trent Forrest added 7. Former Raptor Matt Thomas played only five minutes but made all three of his free throw attempts.

Without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic carried the Jazz offense, scoring 17 of his 34 points in the first quarter and knocking down six three-pointers on a highly efficient shooting night, including some crucial shots in the fourth.

The Raptors put forth their 30th different starting lineup this season and saw all five of their starters score in double-digits. After sitting out Thursday’s game, VanVleet carried the offensive load for Toronto tonight, scoring a team-high 30 points. VanVleet found his shot after scoring only 19 in his last two contests combined and “feeling like s***” on Tuesday against Brooklyn.

Canadian Khem Birch continues to impress in his role while also making the Orlando Magic look silly. Birch recorded his second double-double with the team, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also added a career-high six assists as his play has noticeably improved Toronto’s production on the glass and in the paint.

Utah picked up their league-leading 27th home win with tonight’s sweep of the Raptors, while Toronto falls to 10-22 on the road. At 26-38, Toronto remains 3 games back of the Wizards for the final play-in spot with just 8 games remaining.

The Raptors continue their four-game road trip tomorrow night against Lebron James and the Lakers. Tip-off is set for 10:00PM EST on Sportsnet.

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