The Utah Jazz visit Toronto with the unwanted distinction of being the only winless NBA team. While the Jazz have owned the Raps in recent seasons, having won 14 of the last 15 games, Utah’s best players are all wearing other uniforms. Their offense is the league’s lowest-scoring, averaging a mere 87.2 PPG (Points Per Game), and they managed just 73 last night in Chicago.
The Raps aren’t exactly a scoring juggernaut, averaging 92.8 PPG. The offense has taken long in-game hiatuses, and no two players have been hot at the same time. Ball movement has been all too rare, as the swingmen, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan, have tried to back down their defenders time and again. Certainly the coaching has not helped. Dwane Casey has shown a puzzling tendency to substitute for players, particularly his interior men, who have been enjoying a hot hand.
If the Raps are going to keep Utah without a victory, the home team will need to:
- Hope that Rudy’s game against Indiana was not a fluke. Scoring 30 points in an efficient manner was a pleasant surprise for us Rudy bashers. Does he have another game like that in him? I’d like to see him receive the ball down low, then find an open mate to pass to. If he does, and we score the basket, Rudy will later get his points in the flow of the game. Utah can’t defend him one-on-one.
- Clamp down on Utah’s scorers. There’s only two of them, swingman Gordon Hayward and power forward Enes Kanter, so that shouldn’t be too much to ask. Marvin Williams is expected to play his first game of the season, and the Raps should be able to control him. Utah’s guards must be the weakest in the NBA; I hope Terrence Ross gets a chance to strut his stuff. Take it to the hole, TR!
- Get the ball inside. Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson can punish Utah’s inexperienced front line, and both our guys are capable passers too. Some well-timed cuts to the bucket by DD and Rudy will result in easy hoops. Tyler Hansbrough will see a lot of time, and will be a factor.
I don’t believe DeMar will suffer through another shooting disaster like last night. Rudy won’t score 30 points two nights in a row, but he shouldn’t have to. The Raps can and will shut down Utah’s offense, and find enough of their own, to prevail 96-83.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.
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