Feb 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans (40) shakes hands with Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) during the 2013 NBA All-Star slam dunk contest at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz @ Toronto Raptors : Preview

 

Utah Jazz (0-6) @ Toronto Raptors (2-4)

Tip Off @ 6:30 p.m. EST

TV : Root Sports

Projected Starting Lineups

Utah Jazz

PG- Jamaal Tinsley

SG- Gordon Hayward

SF- Richard Jefferson

PF- Derrick Favors

C- Enes Kanter

Toronto Raptors

PG- Kyle Lowry

SG- Damar DeRozan

SF- Rudy Gay

PF- Amir Johnson

C- Jonas Valanciunas

Overview

The Utah Jazz enter tonight’s game as still the only team in the NBA that doesn’t have a win on the season. Last night, the Jazz were handed their worst defeat of the season, falling to the Bulls in Chicago 97-73. The Jazz shot 29.4% from the field. The franchise record for lowest shooting percentage in a game is 29.3%. Also, 73 points is a season low for the team.

The Toronto Raptors come into the game also coming off a loss last night, as they were beaten by the unbeaten Indiana Pacers. Rudy Gay had a very good game as he finished with 30 points. Both teams are playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, and both teams played on the road last night. Meaning both teams had to travel to Toronto for this game. There could be tired legs that factor into this game.

Key Matchup : Rudy Gay vs Richard Jefferson

Rudy Gay is leading the Raptors in points and rebounds, averaging 19 and 7.8 on the season. He also leads the teams in steals with 1.5 per game. Richard Jefferson, while you wouldn’t look at as being “key” for the Jazz, is coming off a game last night where he was matched up against Luol Deng. Deng finished the game with one assist shy of a triple-double. Besides the poor defense that the Jazz played, Deng was the X factor for the Bulls last night. If the Jazz want to have a chance to win tonight, they will need to try and shut down the Raptors best player. That player is Rudy Gay. Jefferson will need to step up tonight.

Bench

The Jazz bench has been absolutely horrid on this road trip. Unless Alec Burks is playing point guard, we haven’t gotten any production of any kind from the point guard position. A sign of good news, however, is last night, Marvin Williams made his season debut with the Jazz after recovering from an Achilles injury. His first shot attempt was a 3, that was nothing but net. He did miss his next few shots that he took, but at least he was taking shots. He said that he felt good, but who knows if he will be restricted on his minutes and have to sit out tonight’s game. Brandon Rush was supposed to go last night, but after pre-game warm ups, Rush said that he wasn’t feeling right and decided to sit out. Keep an eye on his status as we approach game time. The Jazz need Rush and Williams to get healthy to give this bench any sort of spark.

Conclusion

The Jazz need a win in the worst way. An 0-4 road trip is not something that this team can do. They need to get at least one win, and it needs to come tonight. The Jazz come into tonight as the worst team in the league in scoring at 87.2 per game. They also have been playing a lot of one-on-one on offense, and as a result, rank 26th in the league in assists at 17.7 per game.

The Raptors haven’t been much better scoring, as they sit at the 25th spot at 92.3 points per game. They also haven’t been very good at sharing the ball, ranking 2nd to last with 16.3 assists per game.

If stats mean anything, then the Jazz might once again struggle on the boards. Last night, the Jazz were losing the rebound battle badly for the majority of the game. The Bulls were ranked statistically a few spots higher than the Jazz on the boards and made them look silly. The Raptors come in ranked 7th on the boards, grabbing 45 per game. The Jazz who were ranked 2nd in the league prior to the game against the Houston Rockets, have fallen all the way to 12th in the league. Kanter and Favors need to come into tonight and control the boards. Otherwise, the Jazz could have another long night.

I really want the Jazz to get that first win of the season tonight. My theory is, since I have picked the Jazz to win almost every game, that maybe I should pick them to lose, and then they will play better. They should come out play with effort tonight, but Toronto playing at home might be the difference. Both teams are struggling, but you always play better at home.

Raptors 96, Jazz 85

Who will get the win tonight?

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