by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Leah Hogsten of the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Utah Jazz (26-26) welcomes the Toronto Raptors (23-29) as they will face each other for the first time this season.
What to Look For
Toronto is coming to Utah on their fifth game of a seven-game western road trip where they are currently 2-2. Over the last three games, Toronto has been without the hot trade commodity O.G. Anunoby due to a wrist injury. Without Anunoby, Toronto will be missing the second-best player in the league in steals (2.1 SPG) and their fourth best scorer with 16.9 PPG this season. Gary Trent Jr. has been filling the scoring void in Anunoby’s absence and has been averaging 19 PPG, 37 3PT% and 44.9 percent from the field. Precious Achiuwa has been placed in the starting lineup since Anunoby’s wrist injury. Toronto has been averaging 109.3 PPG in Anunoby’s absence but for the season averaging 112.8 PPG. These numbers aren’t promising for Toronto as they are in the bottom-five in the league in overall shooting percentage and three-point percentage.
Key of the Game
The paint will be the deciding factor on both ends of the court. Walker Kessler will be tested as Toronto is fourth in the league in offensive rebounds (12.6 OREB), but in last in defensive rebounds (30 DREB). With the versatility of Paskal Siakam, Utah will be tasked with switches between having Lauri Markkanen defending him and switching for the advantage against players like Mike Conley or Collin Sexton. If Utah can win the battle in the paint, they should be able to capitalize on Toronto’s defense allowing 49 percent from the field.
Toronto- O.G. Anunoby: Out (wrist), Otto Porter Jr.: Out (foot)
Utah- Johnny Juzang: Out (G League), Micah Potter: Out (elbow)
Where to Watch
Tip-off between Toronto and Utah will be at 7:00 p.m. MT on AT&T SportsNet.