It’s a clash of two slumping teams, but the Toronto Raptors are in a position to take advantage of the Utah Jazz, who are on the second night of a back-to-back. Can they steal a win off of the league’s number one team?
Catch this game tomorrow, Saturday, 8:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Toronto Raptors (17-23, 8-9 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG – Kyle Lowry
- SG – Fred VanVleet
- SF – Norman Powell
- PF – Pascal Siakam
- C – Chris Boucher
We’ve been waiting all season for the Raptors to finally make that one solid winning streak, and it’s just not happening. They head to tomorrow’s contest having lost six-straight games. Prior to this stretch, they’ve also had three separate three-game skids.
The mildly encouraging factor, however, is the team is mostly healthy now, unlike the previous weeks. OG Anunoby is still day-to-day, but Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are both back from quarantine. Don’t be too concerned that they were flat in their return Thursday (VanVleet had 12 pts on 2/13 FGs, Siakam had 13 pts on 3/11 FGs). It’s the expected rust and they should be better tomorrow.
Other main weapons will be there to continue picking up slack just in case, namely Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell. The latter is posting 17.9 points and 10.8 assists over his last eight, while the latter is having a career year, scoring 19.7 PPG on the season and 27 PPG on 55.6% since February 19th (12 games). He’s also on the heels of a career-high 43 points.
The Raptors are averaging 112.5 PPG this season.
ROAD TEAM: Utah Jazz (29-11, 13-8 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG – Mike Conley
- SG – Donovan Mitchell
- SF – Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF – Royce O’Neal
- C – Rudy Gobert
Are you starting to get concerned, Jazz fans? Reasons are slowly piling up. While they still have the best record in the league, it seems that they have hit a wall. They are just 5-6 in their last 11 games.
On Friday, the Jazz fell victim to the surging Washington Wizards, 131-122. The defense was on their knees to the Wizards’ explosive duo, allowing 78 combined points on 59.5% shooting on Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook along. It made Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles’s huge performance go to waste too, since they themselves had 42 and 34 points, respectively – both were season-highs.
To be fair, leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jordan Clarkson had a rough day on the floor. He was just 2-for-11 for seven points and had five turnovers across 25 minutes. Utah would’ve been in a better position had he played a tad better.
The Jazz are third in the league in scoring at 116.6 PPG. Defensively, though, they are giving up a whopping 121.6 PPG in their last six games.
The Raptors will be in their ‘A’ game as they welcome the top-ranked Jazz. Look for them to deliver a good fight. The Jazz may play with some urgency too, but considering the hot-and-cold play, I don’t expect them to cover the -5 spread on the road.
The Jazz are masters at slowing the pace down, which they may opt to do since they just got done battling the fast-paced Wizards. Go with the under (229).