Game Preview: Raptors vs. Jazz

Is it too early to call tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz at Air Canada Centre a “must win” for the Raptors?

The home side needs a foothold before a tough week ahead and the winless Jazz (0-6) obviously presents an opportunity tonight to end a three-game slide (7 PM ET, TSN2, TSN 1050).

But the Jazz will be starving for a first win and undoubtedly view this as a potential slump buster. History is also on their side, as they’ve won 14 of the last 15 meetings overall and will try for an eighth straight victory over the Raptors at ACC tonight.

This matchup features two teams struggling to get on track offensively. Utah ranks last in the league in points per game (87.2) and field goal percentage (.394), as might be expected when you lose two major offensive weapons like Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap to offseason free agency.

The Raptors haven’t fared much better at 92.3 points per game on .428 shooting from the field, good for ranks of 25th and 24th respectively.Toronto has yet to hit the 100-point mark this season, the second-longest stretch of sub-100 point games to start a season in team history.

More Offence From The Bench

One area where the Raptors could certainly use more offensive punch is from their bench.

The Pacers were able to wipe out a 12-point deficit over the span of 4:44 in the second quarter on Friday against a five-man unit of Raptors reserves, which distinctly changed the tone of the game.

Toronto’s bench chipped in 20 points last night, below their 27-ranked average of 23.8 points per contest. Opposing benches are scoring about 29 points against the Raptors this season, which is eighth-lowest in the league entering play tonight.

Encores With The Jazz

These two teams have had a weird knack for extra basketball at least once a season lately. It was the Raptors getting the best of the Jazz in double-OT back in January of 2012…

… while the teams combined to score 273 points on Nov. 12, 2012, but it was the Jazz outlasting the Raptors 140-133 in triple-OT!

Can Rudy Gay Bottle His First Half From Indy?

In a one-on-one with Sekou Smith of, Rudy Gay mentioned the tremendous respect he has for Paul George at the small forward position and the two had an outstanding battle last night in Indianapolis.

Gay was particularly good in the first half, with 22 of the team’s 46 points at the break on nine-for-13 shooting from the field. He cooled off considerably in the second half (3-13 from field after the break) as the league’s best defensive team clamped down, but Gay still found ways to make an impact.

It was Gay’s best game of the season by far and the Raptors could use more of the same to emerge from their current funk.

Camo’s Back

The Raptors will wear their camouflage uniforms tonight to show their support for the Canadian Forces in their final home game before Remembrance Day.

Just a reminder that fans can wear the look and support Canadian military families in the process with items from the Raptors Canadian Forces Collection exclusive to Real Sports. Twenty per cent of sales from the collection are donated to the MLSE Foundation, which directed funds to the Military Families Fund and its Soldier On Program.

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