The Basics : Utah 1-2 (Coming off double digit win over Thunder) Raptors 1-2 (9th in Points Allowed- 96.6 PPG)
Last Time We Saw Them: The Raptors stormed out of the gate at Arco vs Kings only to let their large first quarter lead slip away. Reggie Evans continued to impress on the glass with 19 rebounds. Demar DeRozan tied his career high in points with 24. Andrea Bargnani had 28 points in the loss. The Kings took the lead midway through the 4th Quarter and held on for the 111-108 win.
Key Match ups: The Raptors did not get great point guard play from Jarrett Jack and he will need to be better facing one of the NBA's best in Deron Williams. He was great in Utah's first win of the season over the Thunder with 16 points with 15 Assists. How the Raps play the pick and roll will determine their fate. It won't be Carlos Boozer on those pick and rolls anymore. Al Jefferson the former Celtic and Minnesota player fills his shoes. 3 games into his Jazz career he is averaging 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. Those rebounds will be hard to come by as he will be matched up with Reggie Evans. Thanks in large part to Evans the Raptors are actually in the top third of the league in rebounding. Evans also has been given credit for the Raptors improvement defensively as well according to Demar DeRozan in his post game comments after the Kings game.
Other Things To Note: Amir Johnson has struggled so far this season with just 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds largely in part because he can not stay on the floor. He is averaging 4 fouls and as a result just 14.3 minutes of floor time. It has been a long time since the Raptors got a win in Salt Lake City. November 10th, 2004 was last time the Raptors won there. Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 20 and Vince Carter had 16. Yeah that was A LONG TIME AGO. In fact that pre-dates Deron Williams who has never lost to Toronto on his home floor. The Raptors next two opponents the Lakers and Blazers both won last night beating the Grizzlies and Bucks.
Where You Can Find The Dino Blogger: I will be live blogging this game for The Score.com and Score Mobile and after the game you can hear me(listen on line) on the Sports Grind talking about the Raptors and the NBA. Sometime after the game around midnight EST.
The Overtime Extra Point: If the expected happens in the next 2 games this will be an early test to this Raptor team's moral. A tough loss to the Kings now 2 games that are almost certainly losses will test this new found locker room chemistry. There are going to be losing streaks for this Raptors team and this will be an early test in how they deal with them.