Raptors try to pick up pieces vs Utah Jazz


After an incredible second half that nearly saw the Toronto Raptors take down the perfect Golden State Warriors, the Raptors will head to Salt Lake City to take on the (5-5) Utah Jazz on one day’s rest. DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll each played 39 minutes against the W’s and will be heavily relied on in this coming match-up.

The Jazz have the 6th ranked defence in the league so far this season behind the defensive duo Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Their offence has much to be desired but have a legitimate all star in Gordon Hayward.

Their defence poses a problem for DeMar DeRozan, who makes a living attacking the rim. Rudy Gobert protects the rim to a tune of 42.4% within 6 feet. His rim protection skill is elite, and so are DeRozan’s rim attack and foul drawing skills. It will be interesting to see who prevails.

Nov 5, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) has his shot blocked by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the second half at Pepsi Center. The Jazz won 96-84. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Three keys to victory

Bigs playing big

Among Jonas Valanciunas, Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson and Bismack Biyombo, there needs to be a front line pairing that can deal with Favors and Gobert. Both Utah players rebound with the best of them and defend at very high levels, all while putting the ball in the hoop at the other end. The Raptors rank 3rd in rebounding percentage while Utah is 10th. They must remain diligent in their effort.

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Exploit youth of Jazz

Sporting one of the youngest NBA rosters in the league, the Raptors have oodles of experience under their belts. The Utah Jazz already play at the second slowest pace and the 20th best offence thus it is reasonable to say their half court game has not yet developed. The Raptors live in the half court and with crafty players such as Lowry and DeRozan, look for them to take advantage of angles and selling fouls on the young club.

Close out the game

Toronto has been so close in the final moments of every loss this season, but haven’t had the right magic to hit timely shots or evade the refs spotty whistle. This road game will be a true test if they can get back on their feet and dust off their previous failures in the fourth quarter. You can’t blame a game on a single bad call, but rather it is a summation of its parts. Look for a clean finish to this game.

October 5, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54, right) dribbles the basketball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30, left) during the first half in a preseason game at SAP Center. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 95-87. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Key Players

UTA: Alec Burks; their slashing guard can put up a lot of points in a hurry, one of the offensive weapons in transition and the halfcourt.

TOR: Patrick Patterson; he needs to find his rebounding and defensive chops again before he starts losing time to other notable players. He needs to keep up with Utah’s bigs for a breakout game.


The Canadian National Anthem will be sung louder than most visiting arenas, as support reigns down for three Canadian NBA players participating in this game.