Toronto Raptors: Previewing the five most important games of November

(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Nov. 5- Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz

Key matchup: Donovan Mitchell vs. Danny Green

Led by Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz are in the driver’s seat for a Western Conference playoff spot after a mere eight games.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up Mitchell endured a tough run to start the year but appears to have avoided the sophomore slump. The guard out of the University of Louisville has put up 23.3 points per game, besting last year’s average.

Opposing him when the Raptors make their way to the Vivint Smart Home Arena will likely be offseason acquisition Danny Green.

Green has enjoyed a resurgence for the Raptors, putting up near career-best scoring numbers, as well as a reinvigorated defense. On the year, the guard has put up 10.6 points per game and a defensive rating of 108.

For the Spurs, Green played in three of the four matchups with the Jazz, starting each of the three. Mitchell played in two of those games, posting large numbers against the Spurs.

In his two matchups, Mitchell averaged 30 points per game.

An under-the-radar matchup to watch will be that of Leonard and Joe Ingles. Ingles has posted 14.4-points per game, relying heavily on the outside shot.

As the Jazz’s main scoring threat, Mitchell figures to be influential in the outcome of the game, putting even more pressure on Green. If Green can counter Mitchell with a couple of catch-and-shoot opportunities from outside while hindering him on the offensive end, the Raptors will be in good position to win. If Mitchell has the success he had last year against Green’s Spurs, it could spell trouble.

The game is also the second leg of a back-to-back that begins with the Los Angeles Lakers, which may call Leonard’s availability into question.