- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Jonas Valanciunas was “juiced” from the moment he batted the opening tip into the backcourt.

The improving big man from Lithuania set the tone and then DeMar DeRozan sealed the deal.

“I was really excited to play Enes (Kanter). He’s a good buddy of mine and we’ve played since I was 15 years old. We talked all the game,” said Valanciunas, who had 18 points and nine rebounds to help the Toronto Raptors turn back the Utah Jazz 94-79 on Monday night for their fourth win in the last five games.

“We juiced him up a little bit this morning, teasing him about how Kanter got after him in the Euroleague. So he came out and played, really muscled,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said after the second-year center scored the Raptors‘ first six points.


DeRozan scored 23 points as Toronto continued to surprise away from home.

“Honestly, I think there is no pressure on the road,” DeRozan said.

DeRozan looked to get his teammates involved in the first half but once Kyle Lowry left with a knee injury, the new All-Star took matters into his own hands with nine points in the fourth quarter to quell a Jazz comeback. The Raptors scored 13 of the game’s final 16 points.

“I just pick and choose. I try and be aggressive. Try and rebound, try to pass to my teammates. I don’t just try and go out there to score every time down,” DeRozan said.

Valanciunas and Amir Johnson, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds, exposed the Jazz interior defense without Derrick Favors (hip).

“Everyone gets along together. We all just kind of click. You usually don’t find that,” Johnson said.

Marvin Williams scored 23 points and Alec Burks had 20 off the bench but it wasn’t enough to keep the Jazz from their third straight loss, their worst span since a four-game skid from Dec. 4-9.

Greivis Vasquez, who had 12 points, opened the fourth quarter with a floater to give the Raptors a 73-62 lead.

Burks made back-to-back driving layups to power an 8-0 run to get the Jazz within four points for the first time since early in the second quarter. But the Raptors used their own 11-2 surge to clinch the victory. DeRozan had seven straight for the Raptors in the stretch.

But the Raptors used their own 11-2 surge to clinch the victory. DeRozan had seven straight for the Raptors in the stretch.

“We’re playing for each other. Each of us want the best for the others on the team. We care about each other and have great chemistry,” Vasquez said.

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