Rudy Gay scores 20 points in Jazz debut, as Utah beats Toronto, 119-103

Sports

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – What a debut for 16-year NBA veteran Rudy Gay.

In his first game in a Utah Jazz uniform, Gay hit five 3-pointers and scored 20 points to help the Jazz beat the Toronto Raptors 119-103 on Thursday night.

Gay also had five rebounds while playing just 18 minutes. He missed Utah’s first 14 games while recovering from offseason surgery on his right heel.

“I just try to play the right way, move the ball when it needs to be moved, score when I need to score,” Gay said. “At the end of the day just play to one goal and that’s to win. When you come into a game with that mindset there’s nobody you can’t play.”

Donovan Mitchell also scored 20 points, and Royce O’Neale added a season-high 16. Rudy Gobert chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Seven Jazz players in all scored in double figures, as Utah set season highs in assists with 34, and three-pointers with 19. Utah shot 55% from the field and scored 48 points in the paint.

Gay made seven of his eight shots from the field in giving the Jazz a huge spark off the bench.

Returning from a surgery that forced Gay to teach himself how to walk again for a second time in his NBA career would have been too daunting for most players in their mid-30s. Gay embraced the challenge of coming back.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “It takes a lot of dedication. You got to be a little different and I’m a little different.”

“Rudy was great,” Gobert said about his new teammate. “Rudy gave us a spark on both ends. What I really like is he’s really looking for his teammates and then he’s shooting the ball when he’s open.”

“We’ve watched him and seen him for years and played against him for years,” Ingles saids. “But to have him on your team is nice.”

Gay gave Utah an immediate lift even while playing on a minutes restriction. He made three 3-pointers and assisted another basket to help the Jazz rally and take a 42-31 lead early in the second quarter.

“I’m no slouch,” Gay said. “I am closing in on 20,000 points. There’s a lot of threes in there. I’m usually humble but I can score.”

“He played within himself,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Made the game easy because of the decisions that he made. He made shots, but that’s a byproduct of making the right play.”

Gary Trent Jr. scored a season-high 31 points for Toronto, and Fred VanVleet added 24. Toronto lost for the sixth time in seven games despite scoring 33 points off 21 Jazz turnovers.

Birch gave Toronto an early spark, scoring all 14 of his points before halftime. He made back-to-back baskets to kickstart a 9-2 run that gave the Raptors a 23-17 lead in the first quarter.

Gay gave Utah an immediate lift even while playing on a minutes restriction. He made three 3-pointers and assisted another basket to help the Jazz rally and take a 42-31 lead early in the second quarter.

The Jazz tightened up on defense in the third quarter, allowing them to create some separation. Toronto made only three baskets over the final nine minutes of the quarter. It opened the door for Utah to rebuild a double-digit lead.

Ingles fed Gobert for a pair of dunks and drained a pair of 3-pointers to fuel a 15-2 run that put the Jazz up 98-80 early in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz (10-5) next play at Sacramento Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah Coronavirus

More Coronavirus Updates

IN FOCUS

More In Focus

Justice Files

More Justice Files