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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 5th (All times eastern)

Toronto Raptors (8-9) at Utah Jazz (12-8), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A new era in Toronto Raptors basketball kicks off Friday when the team visits the Jazz in Salt Lake City.

One of the worst losses in franchise history on Tuesday cost Sam Mitchell his job as the Raptors' mentor.

Denver's Chauncey Billups had 24 points and 14 assists, and the Nuggets crushed Toronto, 132-93, at the Pepsi Center.

A day later, Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo fired Mitchell and replaced him with assistant Jay Triano on an interim basis. Mitchell led the Raptors to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and was the NBA's coach of the year for 2006-07, but Colangelo was unhappy with a sluggish start in which Toronto went just 5-9 after winning its first three games of the season.

Triano, the first Canadian head coach in NBA history, is in his seventh season on the Raptors' staff.

In Denver, Chris Bosh scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who fell to 0-2 on a three-game road swing and have lost four of six overall. Jermaine O'Neal scored 12 points after missing the previous three games with a knee injury, while Roko Ukic had 13 in the loss.

The Jazz, meanwhile, lost their second straight home game on Wednesday when Miami's Dwyane Wade scored 23 points, doled out five assists and had four steals to lead the Heat in a 93-89 victory over Utah, which continues to play without star forward Carlos Boozer.

Paul Millsap chipped in 20 points and grabbed 13 boards for the Jazz, who have lost two of three. Ronnie Brewer poured in 18 points and Deron Williams 13 in defeat.

Boozer is expected to miss his ninth straight game tonight with a strained left quadriceps, while forwards Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) and Matt Harpring (back) are both questionable.

The Jazz, who are 8-3 at EnergySolutions Arena this season and have beaten Toronto six straight times, have not dropped three straight home games since April 7 - 14, 2007.

12/05 10:21:49 ET


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