Western Conference giants the Utah Jazz will host the struggling Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. The previous game between these two sides was a nail-biting affair that was eventually won by the Jazz.
Fixture: Toronto Raptors vs Utah Jazz | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Saturday, May 1st, 10 PM ET (Sunday, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Jazz Preview
After months of reigning atop the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz slipped to the second seed last night following a loss to the Phoenix Suns. Quin Snyder's men have lost three of their last five games, two of which came against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Their matchup against the Toronto Raptors marks the beginning of a five-game homestand, so the Jazz will get a chance to regroup.
Injuries to Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley have been a cause of concern for the Utah Jazz. Mitchell has been sidelined with an ankle sprain while Conley has missed the last two fixtures due to hamstring tightness. Georges Niang and Joe Ingles have been promoted to the starting lineup in the duo's absence.
Jordan Clarkson has been getting extra touches of the ball lately but he's blown hot and cold. He contributed 23 points off the bench against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday but struggled to turn up for the Utah Jazz against the Suns last night.
Key Player - Bojan Bogdanovic
Sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic has had to deal with tougher defensive matchups in the absence of Donovan Mitchell but he's persevered through it. Bogdanovic was the only Utah Jazz player to score over 20 points against the Suns. The Serbian has averaged 21.5 points through the last 10 games. He struggled in the previous matchup against the Toronto Raptors, but Bogdanovic will have to lead the Jazz's charge on Saturday.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
G Joe Ingles, G Royce O'Neale, F Bogan Bogdanovic, F Georges Niang, C Rudy Gobert
Toronto Raptors Preview
After losing their last two games, the Toronto Raptors are barely in the running for a play-in tournament spot. They're placed 12th with a 26-37 record and are three games behind the 10th-seeded Washington Wizards. That the Raptors have to play the LA Lakers and LA Clippers after the game against the Utah Jazz doesn't incite too much hope either.
The Toronto Raptors also have a few injuries to deal with. Gary Trent Jr. has missed the last three games with a left leg bruise and he'll be sitting out again on Saturday. Kyle Lowry will also be rested on the front end of the back-to-back. Fred VanVleet didn't play on Thursday, but he should return against the Utah Jazz.
Khem Birch has been an incredible addition to the Toronto Raptors. The center recorded a career-high 20 points in the loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. His frontcourt partner Pascal Siakam has struggled in the last two games, though.
Key Player - OG Anunoby
OG Anunoby has been recognized as an able defender since Day 1, but his leap on the offensive side of things has really caught everyone by surprise. He's averaged 23.6 points and 4.4 rebounds through the last five games while guarding the opposition's best player. Anunoby had a decent outing in the previous match between the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz, where he managed 15 points and four steals.
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
G Malachi Flynn, G Fred VanVleet, F OG Anunoby, F Pascal Siakam, C Khem Birch
Jazz vs Raptors Match Prediction
The constant chopping and changing of the lineup has prevented the Toronto Raptors from building enough chemistry over the last few weeks. Good individual performances haven't really rubbed off on the team as a whole.
The Utah Jazz have been scrappy as well, but they always turn up after enduring a tough loss. Returning to the Vivint Arena helps the Jazz's cause as well, who have the best home record in the NBA this season. Expect Quin Snyder's men to win this tie.
Where to watch Jazz vs Raptors?
Local coverage of this game will be available on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, while SN will telecast the same in Canada. You can also live stream this matchup via the NBA League Pass.