The Utah Jazz continue their road trip tonight with a jaunt up North of the Border. The Toronto Raptors will be the welcome hosts, having just returned from their long Western road trip. Utah is smarting off a loss to the Boston Celtics. The Raptors were nearly extinct after the San Antonio Spurs beat them 110-82. Both teams want to get back to winning. One of these teams is going to have to wait a little longer though.
Toronto is the second best team in the East, and the fifth best team in the NBA. They are only 11-5 at home this season, so there's that. Utah is the fifth best team in the West, and seventh best team in the NBA. A surprise to us older Jazz fans, this team is 10-7 on the road. On paper this should be close. We'll see after 48 minutes what to call it.
The Jazz and Raps split the season series last year, and overall the Jazz are up 26-14. In Canada it's still looking pretty Jazz, with our boys up 12-7. Of course, things have been changing over time and it's going to be hard to expect to dominate an entire country forever. (RIP Vancouver Grizzlies)
This season Dwane Casey's club is slowing the pace down (20th) but still unstoppable on offense. Where they score the 3rd most PPG (110.3) off of the 2nd best ORTG (115.4). Their defense is acceptable (12th in PPG, 19th in DRTG) when you factor in that very few teams can stop them. At all. Only in seven games where opponents able to hold them under 100, and that's nullified by the nine games where they scored more than 120 points. Yes, they have the 20th "fastest" pace in the NBA and they are scoring like this. They are really good.
On the other side of the ball, Quin Snyder is running a slow team that's defense first. No team holds the other team to fewer points than the Jazz and their O.PPG of just 95.1. Utah's DRTG is 4th best right now, but it should be higher when healthy. Utah doesn't score much per game (only 99.1) but are still holding on with the 11th best ORTG in the league (108.8). (It used to be higher . . . )
The key points will be to arrest dribble penetration, stay home on outside shooters, and crash the boards. Isaiah Thomas killed Utah in their last game, so the Raptors are looking at that. And Toronto couldn't score on the Spurs, so the Jazz are looking at that. The coach that is best able to get their team to do new things should win tonight.
Not only do they have more fans (?), but they also have more snow. Who would have thunk it?
- PG: Shelvin Mack vs. Kyle Lowry
- SG: Rodney Hood vs. DeMar DeRozan
- SF: Gordon Hayward vs. DeMarre Carroll
- PF: Derrick Favors vs. Pascal Siakam
- C: Rudy Gobert vs. Jonas Valanviunas
Injuries / Absences:
- PG: George Hill (UTA, OUT), Dante Exum (UTA, Good to go), Delon Wright (TOR, OUT)
- SG: Alec Burks (UTA, remember he exists, right?)
- PF: Patrick Patterson (TOR, Questionable), Jared Sullinger (TOR, OUT), Joel Bolomboy (UTA, NBADL)
GO JAZZ GO!
Who's going to win tonight?
This poll is closed
UTA by 11+ points
UTA by 6-10
UTA by 1-5
TOR by 1-5
TOR by 6-10
TOR by 11+