Price had 13 points, five assists and directed a decisive fourth-quarter run as the Jazz tied a franchise record with their 19th straight home victory, a 96-79 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
"My job is to bring energy when I step on the floor," Price said. "The starters on this team play a lot of minutes so I don't have a lot of time to make an impression."
The third-year pro who backs up Deron Williams played less than 10 total minutes in the second halves of the last four games. On Monday, the Jazz outscored the Raptors by 25 points in the 13 minutes Price played.
He quarterbacked the Jazz to a 24-4 run in the first 6:27 of the fourth quarter to turn a tie game into a blowout. Price had two driving layups, three assists and some pesky defense on T.J. Ford, who erupted after getting called for an offensive foul. Ford had to be restrained by teammate Jason Kapono from charging referee Eddie F. Rush. The feisty Raptor guard was whistled for two technicals and ejected.
"I have been playing against T.J. since I was about 8 years old in Texas," Price said. "I have so much respect for him and we have had a lot of battles over the years. From the moment he entered the game, he looked like he had an aggressive attitude. I knew I had to match that with my own intensity."
Williams scored 21 points and liked the view from the bench.
"Our second group did a great job," he said. "They carried us pretty much the whole game. Kyle [Korver] was hitting shots, Ronnie was playing great defense, hitting shots and frustrating people out there."
Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 10 rebounds but left the game two minutes early with a muscle strain on the left side of his back. He is probable on Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers when Utah can break its franchise record for longest home winning streak, which was set from Jan. 19-March 29, 1996 and again from Dec. 13, 1989 to March 3, 1990.
Jazz starting center Mehmet Okur left the game in the first quarter due to the stomach flu. But Korver scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting as the Jazz reserves outscored their Toronto counterparts 47-30. Okur will be a game-time decision on Thursday.
"In the last part of the ballgame, we got a little life, ran the floor and made some nice moves to the basket," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "This was our fifth game in seven days, so we were a bit sluggish at the start."
Jose Calderon had 16 points to lead the Raptors, who extended a season-long losing skid to five games. All those losses have come on the road against Western Conference teams without leading scorer and rebounder Chris Bosh. Toronto is 2-8 since Bosh went out of the lineup with a sore right knee.
The Raptors summoned a final surge in the third quarter, tying it at 65-65 on Jamario Moon's jumper with 10 seconds left in the period. But when Price picked up the tempo and Ford lost his cool in the fourth quarter, the Raptors unraveled.
"Frustration, just frustration," Ford said. "The game was tied and they were able to take the momentum. We kept trying to fight and fight but things just weren't going our way."
The Jazz have won six straight against the Raptors and have not lost at home since a 104-98 defeat to Boston on Dec. 29, 2007.
Williams got a technical foul for arguing with Rush just before halftime and nearly got another in the third quarter as he angrily tried to point out a moving screen. ... The two teams combined to miss 14 straight field goal attempts in a hapless stretch of the first quarter. ... Korver celebrated his 27th birthday Monday. ... Bargnani left the court at the end of the third quarter after he was hit with Moon's elbow in a scramble for the ball. X-rays were negative. ... The Raptors wore special green uniforms in honor of St. Patrick's Day.