By Mark Milligan Jr
Nov. 5, 2018
So here’s the deal: the Jazz have been facing some hurdles they have thus far struggled to overcome. Some may even call it a slump. Sure, fair enough. The most optimistic of us may look at each and every loss as an excusable one for various reasons, but I’ll spare you the reaching excuses so you don’t have to relive each loss. Besides, in times like this looking back is the last thing you want to do. Today’s a new day and another chance to start a winning streak! Am I being too hopeful when our team is facing up against the best team in the East right now? A 9-1 Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto team seems daunting, sure, especially when our leading scorer, Donovan Mitchell, is out with a sprained ankle. But fear not, my friends, for there is reason to hope!
Reason to Hope #1: #TeamIsEverything
How often have we seen it from both the Jazz and other teams? A star is injured and the rest of the team steps up to make up for the loss. Losing a star is never a good thing, especially in the long term. However, for a single game or two, it’s not unusual for teams to step up their game as other players take advantage of their time to shine. This year’s motto isn’t #SpidaIsEverything. It’s #TeamIsEverything. So if the rest of the team can find themselves tonight, not only would it help against the Raptors, but the improved team play could likely continue once Mitchell returns, making the team all that much better in the long run!
Reason to Hope #2: Trap Game
The Raptors might be too good to fall for it, but Mitchell being on the bench could turn tonight’s matchup into a trap game for Toronto. If the Jazz were playing as well as the league was expecting, this would be a game that Coach Nick Nurse would extend his pre-game prep and practice for. Instead, the Jazz are sitting with a sub-.500 record and their sophomore star sitting in street clothes. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Raptors come into Vivant Smart Home Arena overly confident.
Reason to Hope #3: Rested at Home
The Jazz have finally had a little rest. After returning from their 4-game road trip in which they went 3-1, Utah played a single game at home only to fly out to play Denver the very next night. A back-to-back immediately flowing a 4-game road trip is exhausting for any team. A couple nights of sleep in their own beds and a game in front of the home crowd will do them some good. Trust me, they want that first home win as much as we do.
Reason to Hope #4: Already Done It
The Jazz have already beaten the Raptors once. Sure, it was the preseason, but it was a pretty convincing win from tip-off to the final horn on October 2nd. Take it for what it’s worth.
Reason to Hope #4: Kahwi-less Raptors?
Last but not least, Kawhi is questionable for tonight due to a sore ankle. I would never wish an injury on any player, but with the luck that Jazz Nation has experienced over the years, I don’t have an ounce of sympathy for any other team dealing with health issues. And yeah, this reason is probably the strongest case for hope. Fingers crossed!
So am I putting money down on the game? Eh, not really. But will I be watching with my lucky Jazz socks on? Absolutely. Let’s do this.
*Featured image via Associated Press