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Utah Jazz vs Toronto Raptors Game Preview: No Canada!

Game #11: Raptors (7-5) @ Jazz (5-5)
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight we get to see the if the 5th best team in the Eastern Conference (the Toronto Raptors, 7-5), can beat the 8th best team in the Western Conference (the Utah Jazz, 5-5). It's obviously a different game than the one I built up there in the first sentence, but still. It should be fun. The Raps are on the second night of a back-to-back after losing to the West leading Golden State Warriors (12-0). The Jazz had a few nights off to recover from their second East road trip of the month. This is going to be Utah's 3rd home home of the season . . . and it's almost Thanksgiving. Seriously.

Toronto is good, even if they play in the East. They live at the line (30.0 FTA per game, .290 FT/FGA ratio, which is 1st in the NBA), and guys like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have gone there 192 times already this season. Against the Champions they got there 12 and 13 times respectively. The Raps also crash the boards, they are 10th in DREB% and 3rd in OREB%. A lot of that hustle comes from Jonas Valanciunas, Luis Scola, Bismack Biyombo, and former Jazzman DeMarre Carroll.

Overall they are one of the best offensive teams the Jazz will face, being 8th in PPG, and 3rd in ORTG . . . they don't play fast, but they play smart. Defensively they are average, so all in all this is going to be a great challenge. Last night they played only 9 players, with Terrence Ross, Anthony Bennett, Normal Powell, and former Utes PG Delon Wright getting DNP-CDs. We'll see how tired they are, with seven guys logging in at least 20 minutes last night, and four starters playing at least 30. Three guys -- Carroll, Lowry, and DeRozan all played 39 minutes. This may be good for our guys.

Utah is great on defense, and offensively they struggle at times. Some of that has to come from the fact that they are just plain missing open jumpers. Two guys who are doing that who should not are Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood. If one of them is having a good shooting night then I expect the Jazz offense to look much more competent than usual. The Jazz are no slouches on the boards either, as they are 6th in OREB% and 16th in DREB%.

The two main fulcrums seem to be the Raptors offensive boards against the Jazz protecting the defensive glass; and the fouls issue. The Jazz are the worst in the league at sending teams to the line. The Raptors are the best in the league at getting to the line. Also, well, this is a "home game". I would love to see the Jazz actually get some effing calls for once. Tonight may not be that night as they play a team filled with star power -- specifically their starting back court of Lowry and DeRozan.

For the Jazz, only starting point guard Dante Exum is not going to play. Rodney Hood is questionable, but I hope he does suit up. For the Raptors, Terrence Ross hurt his thumb, and is out indefinitely.

This is cool, because it's a game against two teams from different countries. But also there are lots of players from different countries in this game as well. Trey Lyles, Cory Joseph, and Anthony Bennett are all Canadian. Lucas Nogueira, Bruno Caboclo, and Raul Neto are all Brazilian. Lusic Scola is another South American, from Argentina. Jonas Valanciunas, Rudy Gobert, and Tibor Pleiss are both from Europe. Joe Ingles (and Dante Exum) are from down under, and Bismack Biyombo is straight from the heart of Clark and I.

It should be a very good game, especially if the Jazz can play defense without being called for a foul every time down the court.