Utah Jazz guard Devin Brown knew very well that he had better make his layup or get smashed to the floor trying, even though the Jazz had a double-figure lead with 3:44 to go Tuesday night in the Delta Center.
That's because teammate Andrei Kirilenko shouted to him after he made the pass that a basket would give him a triple-double.
"Yeah, he told me. He told me as soon as he passed it to me," said Brown following Utah's 111-98 victory to snap a two-game losing streak and half a Toronto team that had won seven of its last nine games.
"He yelled at me to shoot it, so I had to shoot it regardless. I know he's out there stat-watching."
Brown did make the layin to give Utah a 103-89 lead and give Kirilenko the first triple-double of his NBA career, second in his life (the other one was with his Russian team and had 10 blocks).
It's the Jazz's first triple-double in regular season since Karl Malone did it against the L.A. Clippers in May 1999.
"We had a big lead," reasoned Kirilenko of his stats consciousness.
"Definitely, I like it. But I like winning the game much more," he said. It's an important game for us, after two tough losses to Miami and the Clippers."
And Kirilenko wanted more. "I need(ed) two more steals and one more block for a five-by-five — because America is a stats country," he continued, talking the kind of talk coach Jerry Sloan would hate, had he heard it.
"That's not part of my business," Sloan said about Kirilenko's rare statistical feat, though he said he's happy when players on his team accomplish it because it means, "you're usually playing pretty well."
Sloan considered Kirilenko's game terrific. "Andrei was all over," he said about a night when Kirilenko had 18 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists, four blocked shots and three steals.
Sloan played Kirilenko the whole second half and said he had no plans to take him out of the game because he was so "alive. He was shooting the ball and did a terrific job passing the ball."
The Jazz had 27 assists on 44 baskets, 55 percent field-goal shooting, 85 percent free-throw shooting, just 12 turnovers and a 44-32 rebounding advantage forged in a third quarter during which they outboarded the Raptors 12-4.
Memo Okur had 29 points on 11-for-17 shooting but said the fact that the game was televised internationally and that many of his fans in Turkey would be watching wasn't the reason. He had 29 points the last time the Jazz played the Raptors, too. Utah won then 99-84 in Toronto Nov. 11.
Okur said he wasn't about to take 30 shots just because Turkey was watching. "It's not about that. It's about winning," he said.
"I think we deserve it tonight," Okur observed, saying the team learns with each outing and that Kirilenko "was great. He was active and was everywhere.
"Every team needs a player like him. I feel lucky because I play with him. He's such a great and unselfish player."
But one who watches the scoreboard. "He knew," Okur said. "He told me I need two rebounds and two assists."
Toronto's Chris Bosh scored 27 and point guard Mike James added 16. James was listed as inactive after not playing in Saturday's home win over the New York Knicks because of back spasms, but he started the game.
Jose Calderon and Matt Bonner made big contributions off the Raptor bench with 16 and 12 points, and Utah got 10 off its bench from Devin Brown and 15 — including the shot Kirilenko insisted on getting to complete his triple-double..
"They just executed their offense perfect, I think," said Toronto coach Sam Mitchell of the Jazz.. His team was coming off a franchise-high 129 points against the Knicks.
The 11 points by Utah Tuesday was a season high, one more than it scored in a win at Philadelphia last week.
JAZZ NOTES: On the inactive list for the Jazz was center Jarron Collins, joining long-term project Carlos Boozer and C.J. Miles, who is playing in the Development League . . . Because Collins was inactive, guard Andre Owens got to dress for the game for the first time in seven games, when he was in the healthy-but-inactive mode. He did not play. Neither did second-year man Kris Humphries — Robert Whaley had six points, three rebounds and four fouls trying to guard Bosh. He made all three of his field-goal attempts — Center Greg Ostertag was 4-for-4 shooting in 15 minutes, time shortened by four fouls. He added five rebounds.