Blowing a different tune

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

SALT LAKE CITY -- New colour, same old Raptors.

Wearing green in place of their old red to mark St. Patrick's Day, the Raptors, for the fourth time in five straight losses acquitted themselves decently for a portion of last night's game but couldn't sustain it for all four quarters.

This time around the breakdowns came in the fourth rather than the first, but the result was the same -- another loss-- this one 96-79.

The fact that the host Utah Jazz looked more than willing to give this one away for the first three quarters only made it harder to swallow.

About the only thing the Jazz did well in the first 36 minutes, was shoot the ball. That, however, was enough to keep them even with the Raptors who held a huge edge in points in the paint, second-chance points and points off turnovers but went into the fourth tied at 65.

The Jazz, however, opened the fourth with a 24-4 run en route to a relatively easy win.

On the night, the Jazz shot an impressive 55% to the Raptors' 40%.

"We were right there, it was maybe a six-point game there three minutes into the fourth," Raptors' Rasho Nesterovic said. "We are on the right track. We just have to keep our composure and just keep going where we left off today."

Nesterovic had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds in just shy of 37 minutes.

"Those two technicals just got us a little bit out of the way," Nesterovic said of T.J. Ford's back-to-back technicals and ejection five minutes into the fourth quarter.

After his second successive foul in under a minute, Ford lost his cool and screamed his displeasure at official Marc Davis as teammates tried to hold him back. For his efforts, Ford picked up a pair of technicals and the automatic ejection. The Raptors were down by 10 at that point and never got closer.

"I just got a little frustrated and lost my temper," Ford said. "Knowing how hard the first unit worked to get the game tied going into the fourth and them coming out and changing the game, it definitely made it tough for us."

The win added to the Jazz's 28-3 record at EnergySolutions Arena and set a franchise record with their 19th consecutive win at home.

Andrea Bargnani, who has been doing a better job of staying out of foul trouble lately, reverted to his old form and picked up two 3:19 into the first quarter and had to come out. By the end of the third quarter, he had picked up four, but he took a Jamario Moon elbow in the nose as Moon went up for a shot and had to leave the game. X-Rays were negative.

The Raptors got some help from the Atlanta Hawks, who held off the Washington Wizards 105-96. That was big for the Raptors because the Wizards began the night a half game back of the Raptors in sixth place.


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