Game Preview: Utah Jazz @ Toronto Raptors

Is it REALLY this hard to play basketball? - Tyrone Corbin - David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Game #5 • Air Canada Center • Toronto, Ontario • November 9, 2013 • 5:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports; RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM

First of all, I want to make this really, really clear:

I am enjoying the season thus far. Quite a bit. And yes: I'm being serious.

This summer I really stepped back at how I was reacting to the team, and I realized I had not enjoyed them nearly as much as I could have. And it made me sad. So I tried to give myself a change in mindset, and I've been determined to look for the good and simply have fun following my team, whatever the results.

I've really enjoyed Gordon Hayward's all-around excellence. 18.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists is pretty spectacular. Especially the rebounding ... finally Gordo's rebounding like he means it.

I've enjoyed Enes Kanter. The guy's doing 18 and 9 per-36 minutes, shooting over 50% from the field, nearly 90% from the line, and he's still rusty from the time off with the injury.

Alec Burks and Derrick Favors have shown some great moments, but they honestly have the furthest to go to prove strong players. I don't think this should surprise anyone. Favors, in particular seems to be the one most affected by the team's overall inability to work together to get clean shots. Hopefully that will change.

But I'm genuinely enjoying the process.

At the same time, it will be really nice if the team can win some games. Which brings us to ... tonight's game.

What's going on with the Raptors?

The Raptors have won two games: at home against Boston and on the road against Milwaukee. They are also returning to Toronto from an 0-2 road trip in Charlotte and Indiana. They were beat by Indiana last night.

The Raptors are led by two notorious high-volume, low efficiency wing scorers: Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan. This is an improvement from the high-volume, low efficiency, no defense, no rebounds "center" Andrea Bargnani, who they conned the Knicks into taking this summer.

The Raptors also boast Jonas Valanciunas (or JV, as I like to call him), the guy who ought to be the yin to Enes Kanter's yang. We had the Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams thing. We have the Derrick Favors vs. DeMarcus Cousins thing. We have the Gordon Hayward vs. George Paul thing. We ought to have Enes the Menas vs. JV.

But, alas, JV isn't right now worth the comparison. Kanter's a beast. JV's a nice player (9 & 7.5 in about 25 minutes per night).

The Raptors have been, thus far, average both offensively and defensively (15th and 18th, respectively). Like the Jazz, they offensive-rebound the snot out of the ball.

What's going on with the Jazz?

They're struggling. They can't figure out how to get decent, uncontested shots. They'd really like to, you know, win a game.

Marvin Williams was back last night. Brandon Rush has been back for very limited minutes. Right now the Jazz are not playing Rush on the second nights of back-to-backs, so don't expect to see him on the court tonight.

I have not heard if they are planning similar restrictions to Marv right now.

Gordon and Kanter have been decent lately, but it's been a while since Alec and Favors have been effective. Let's hope we can pull it all together, get 3-4 guys to have a good game in the same night, and return to Utah with the glory of a win.

Edit: As pointed out by superdeno below, Rush didn't actually play last night. So he may be available. No official word as of 3:00 MST whether he actually will be or not. Nor are there any updates about Jeremy Evans and Andris Biedrins.

Fun Trivia about Yucca

I served my LDS mission in the Canada Toronto West Mission. I really, really love the area. Although I never got into Toronto itself, I did meet Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones, at Wayne's parents house in Brantford. And Tim Horton's has some pretty good donuts.

In fact, in donut hierarchy, Tim Hortons is on the Bowman's Level.

Here's how the hierarchy goes:

  • Wal-Mart - these are horrible and possibly a petroleum product
  • Smith's (Albertson's back in the day) - sometimes edible
  • Harmon's - decent
  • Normal Krispy Kreme - good
  • [really, REALLY big gap here]
  • Bowman's
  • Fresh, warm Krispy Kreme glazed
  • Tasty's - the Greatest Of All Time

Tim Horton's is firmly at the Bowman's level ... which is pretty good. It's like Chris Bosh's place on the Miami Heat hierarchy.

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