New York: Al Jefferson’s game-tying baskets twice kept the Jazz in the game before Paul Millsap capitalised on the reprieves by powering Utah to a triple-overtime 140-133 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday.
The Jazz (4-4) were made to work harder than expected for a first road win of the season, riding Millsap’s 34 points along with 24 points and 17 rebounds from Jefferson to emerge victorious in the marathon encounter.
“We finally picked it up and pushed it into overtime,” Jefferson told reporters. “By that time, it’s time to pick up our game and come out with a victory. Unfortunately, it took three overtimes to do it, but we did it.”
Trailing by 11 midway through the fourth quarter, Utah rallied and eventually tied the game at 104-104 on Jefferson’s unlikely three-pointer with two seconds remaining.
The 6ft-10in Jefferson tossed up a shot that bounced around the rim and finally found the net for just his second career basket from beyond the arc.
Jefferson tied the scores again with just 19 seconds left in the opening overtime, forcing another extra session, in which John Lucas’s late three-pointer staved off defeat for the home team.
The visitors finally broke free in the third overtime session with a 9-1 run that was highlighted by a three-pointer from Millsap, who had seven points in the third extra session.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with a career-high 37 points, while Jose Calderon had 20 points and 17 assists but could not prevent the Raptors (1-6) from slipping to a fourth straight loss.
Toronto was without injured players Kyle Lowry (right ankle) and Landry Fields (right wrist), who both missed their second straight game.
Utah’s Mo Williams returned from a one-game absence due to a strained hip and he made a solid contribution with 17 points and 14 assists.
Randy Foye added 20 off the bench as the Jazz avoided another defeat away from home in the opener of a four-game road trip for the team.
“Everybody just played their heart out and we told each other that we didn’t want to lose... we wanted this game even if it took six overtimes,” Foye said.