The Good, Bad and Ugly: Raptors blow 17 point lead to Jazz

Raptors fall to 2-8 in December

“What? How? Why? Who?”

These are questions Darko Rajakovic was asking postgame in response to lineup questions. That quote will definitely be replayed time and time again this season, whether its in context or not.

Somehow, the Raptors managed to trail by double digits for a 10th straight game despite leading by 17 midway through the third quarter. A 27 point swing afterwards resulted in Toronto falling to 11-18 on the season with nine of the next 10 games coming on the road. The Raptors are now 2-8 in December, and could arguably a Christmas break more than anyone except the Pistons and Wizards.

Let’s play a game of good, bad and ugly with this loss.

The Good: Scottie Barnes

The most consistent bright spot this season continues to be Scottie, who opened the game nailing threes in rapid fire succession. He had 11 points in less than three minutes, a career-high 17 in the first quarter and 24 in the first half. Barnes is normally good for at least one highlight block per game as well. His final line consisted of a career-high tying 32 points, 14 boards, seven assists and four threes.

The Bad: Jazz fourth quarter run

Toronto entered the fourth quarter up 98-85. Five minutes later, that lead was gone.

Scottie ended up a minus-six despite stuffing the stat sheet because Darko went to the Barnes plus bench look (Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr, Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa) to begin the quarter. The Raptors missed their first six shots of the fourth behind a lineup that has struggled all season. By the time O.G. Anunoby checked in for Flynn at the 9:48 mark, the lead was down to six. Three minutes later, the game was tied.

Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen outscored the Raptors by themselves 25-21 in the fourth. Clarkson had missed the previous six games but had 30 points off the bench to put the game out of reach. Utah as a team put up 41 points in the final quarter. It was eerily similar to the Jazz closing out the Raptors on a 24-5 run in Toronto back in February during last season’s collapse.

The Ugly: Postgame

Here’s the full clip where Rajakovic was asked about lineups.

Yes, the Raptors had a comfortable lead in the first half as Darko points out. This isn’t the game where the starting lineup in particular can be pointed at as the bad apple. However, there were eight other games this month where bad starts repeatedly occurred. Some of the Raptors most popular lineup combinations are amongst the worst in basketball in terms of net rating. There have been multiple games where a game gets out of hand in the fourth with Pascal Siakam on the bench. It isn’t just the starting lineup (and specifically keeping Dennis Schroder in it) that’s being questioned. The Steph Curry remark Rajakovic brings up just looks bad and can easily be taken out of context. That’s all many who didn’t tune in this game will remember, especially those who are haven’t been impressed with Darko’s coaching abilities through the first 29 games.


  • Pascal Siakam played his 500th game on Saturday, becoming the sixth Raptor to reach that mark with the club.
Raptors 500 game club
1. DeMar DeRozan675
2. Kyle Lowry601
3. Morris Peterson542
4. Jose Calderon525
5. Chris Bosh509
6. Pascal Siakam500

Siakam was asked about the milestone.

Up Next: The Raptors travel to Washington on Wednesday to take on the 5-23 Wizards. Happy Holidays!