And all that Jazz

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

SALT LAKE CITY -- If it was a sign of things to come, the Raptors are in big trouble.

In the first game of a defining five-game West Coast swing, the previously hot Raptors (13-25) laid a defensive egg and played selfishly with the basketball.

The Utah Jazz scored a whopping 62 points in the paint and the Raptors tied a season-low with 13 assists as the home side notched an easy 111-98 win last night at the Delta Center.

"They just beat us, there is nothing to say," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

The Jazz' international forward duo of Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur killed the Raptors. Okur had 27 points, while Kirilenko had his first career triple-double with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.

With the loss, the Raptors' losing streak on the West Coast (two or more time zones away) was extended to 12 games. The Raptors face the Trail Blazers in Portland tonight.

Winners of seven of their past nine entering the game and coming off a franchise-record 129 points in a win over the New York Knicks Sunday, the Raptors reverted to November form when they went 1-15. Despite all their improvements, the Raptors remain the third-worst defensive team in the 30-team NBA. The Jazz shot an impressive 55% from the field.

"They just executed their offence to a T and we just kept getting lost on defence and we just kept giving them layup after layup after layup," Mitchell said.

Keep in mind that the Jazz is not an offensive powerhouse. In fact, Utah is ranked 28th in scoring.

On offence, the Raptors decided passing was not a priority.

"When we move the ball, good things happen," said Raptors star forward Chris Bosh, who led the team with 27 points. "We cut the lead to about two or three points in the first half moving the basketball but we stopped doing that, we stopped going to the post."

Point guard Mike James, who missed Sunday's game with back spasms, returned to the lineup and started. James finished with 15 points.

The Jazz led almost the entire first half and was up 54-47 at the break. The Jazz went up by as many as 20 points in the third quarter and it was pretty much over.

"We just got steamrolled," Bosh said. "I don't think it's a step back because we know what happens when we play the way we're supposed to play."

Bosh continues to draw praise from all corners. On an NBA.com poll asking fans to name the most improved player in the league, Bosh is leading with 35% of the votes. Okur is second at 26% and James is third at 11%.

Before the game, Mitchell was asked if Chris Bosh's game reminds him of anybody else's and the coach simply responded, "Chris Bosh."

"I haven't seen a big guy that can do what he does," Mitchell said. "How many big guys can put the ball on the floor the way he puts it on the floor and he's becoming a better shooter every day ... He's a unique player."


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