Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors offered a glimpse at the not-too-distant future of the NBA.
It was ugly for the Utah Jazz.
The 22-year-old Carter scored 10 of his 18 points in a burst that opened the fourth quarter and 20-year-old Tracy McGrady added 17 points as Toronto beat Utah 100-87 on Friday night.
"Just taking the shots when they were available," Carter said.
Meanwhile, 36-year-old Karl Malone, Utah's perennial All-Star, 14-year veteran and two-time MVP, put up two air balls in the third period. After the loss dropped the Jazz to 7-6, Malone had no answers about what went wrong.
"We have a lot of things to fix, each and every guy," Malone said. "We'll find out who we are. It's no fun playing .500. That was like my rookie year."
The Jazz got plenty of open looks but shot 39.8 percent (35-of-88).
Malone had 24 points, six short of the 30 he needed to pass Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's career scoring list. But he struggled, shooting 8-of-23 and missing shots that usually seem effortless for him.
After collapsing during a 109-84 loss in Denver on Wednesday and a 94-93 loss at Phoenix on Tuesday, the Raptors held up this time, maturing in a most unusual place: at the Delta Center.
"We were more focused tonight. We wanted it more," McGrady said. "The Jazz fans were real loud, but we did a good job of keepng our heads."
John Stockton scored 16 points and Jeff Hornacek had 12 for the Jazz. Malone added 13 rebounds but it didn't make much difference as the Raptors held a 46-36 rebounding advantage.
"We're just not playing very well," Stockton said. "I think that's obvious, but give them credit. They kept the pressure on us, they made shots and made plays defensively. We didn't."
Utah coach Jerry Sloan, frustrated after a 90-82 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, shook up the starting lineup, using Greg Ostertag for Olden Polynice at center, and Byron Russell for rookie Scott Padgett at small forward.
But the Jazz didn't respond. After taking a 17-9 lead midway through the first quarter, they couldn't maintain their offensive rhythm. The Raptors used a 10-2 run to tie it and the Jazz spent the rest of the night on their heels.
"It's really sad when you see guys come out there and (our) hustle sticks out like a sore thumb," Sloan said.
Still, Utah had a chance until Carter heated up in the fourth quarter.
Carter hit midrange jumpers and Oakley came out from his power forward spot to make a pair of 20-footers from the top of the key. The Raptors shot 10-for-10 from the foul line in the last 1:23 to seal the victory.
"On a bad night if we don't win, we come back the next night and play harder," Christie said. "With the team we have and the talent we have, we're expecting to win now."
Out-hustling the listless Jazz, Toronto also got most of the long rebounds and referees' calls in the fourth quarter, giving the Delta Center capacity crowd of 19,711 little to cheer about.
"We tried to run inside plays and they took those away from us," Sloan said. "They made us take tough shots, and they stayed up on us on the outside shots."
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