The Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz will square up at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Jazz are coming off a 121-100 loss against the Phoenix Suns in the desert last night. It was a porous performance in a marquee matchup on the road. Bojan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 22 points, but that was not nearly enough to keep up with the Suns. Nobody wants to hear excuses, though it must be noted that the Jazz were without both Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. The win for the Suns pulled them into a tie with the Jazz for top honors in the Western Conference.
Mitchell has been dealing with a bad ankle over the last two weeks, while Conley recently had his hamstring issues flare up again. He is due back at any time, but there hasn’t been any indication that he will be ready to suit up against the Raptors on Saturday night. Without Mitchell and Conley on the floor, the guard play for the Jazz is really lackluster. The Jazz had Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale starting at shooting and point guard last night. O’Neale scored only 3 points, while Ingles chipped in with 12 points. That’s not going to work against the Suns.
Ingles and Bogdanovic were the only starters to get into double digits against Phoenix. Note that this was after the Jazz went off for 154 points against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night in a 154-105 win. Nobody could miss for the Jazz, as they shot better than 60% from the field. This was without Conley and Mitchell in the lineup as well. Playing against a soft Kings’ defense helped, but scoring 154 points against any team is impressive. Despite that performance, the offense hasn’t been firing on all cylinders without Mitchell in the lineup. Conley hurts only more, as his presence is one of the most underrated aspects of the Jazz.
The Raptors are one of the last teams outside of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament picture. They’re currently tied with the Chicago Bulls at 26-37 on the season to put them both three games behind the Washington Wizards for the final play-in tournament spot. I don’t know if the Raptors’ veterans have much drive to go play in the tournament, especially when Kyle Lowry is off tonight for rest. Head below for our free Raptors vs. Jazz pick on May 1, 2021.
Toronto Raptors vs. Utah Jazz NBA Betting Odds:
Raptors vs. Jazz Prediction:
The Jazz had that offensive surge against the Kings, but that’s been an outlier for them recently. They haven’t scored more than 115 points in regulation, besides the Kings game, since April 16 against the Indiana Pacers. In three of their previous five games, the Jazz have scored an average of 100 points per game. Even with the 154 points included, they’ve recorded an average of 113.2 points per game in their previous five outings.
Relying on Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neal in a starting role at guard instead of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley has a lot to do with that. The Raptors will be down a starting guard in Kyle Lowry, and possibly without Fred VanVleet as well. He was absent against the Denver Nuggets, and is listed as questionable to play against the Jazz tonight.
Gary Trent Jr. continues to be on the injury report, and didn’t even travel with the team out west. To make matters more complicated for the Raptors, Chris Boucher didn’t travel with the Raptors either. Paul Watson, who was coming on nicely lately, is also out of the lineup indefinitely with a knee injury. The Raptors’ offense has been an inconsistent unit this season, and injuries have played a role in that.
Toronto is 18th in the NBA with 111.7 points per game. They’re also shooting just 45% from the field for 25th. Second chance opportunities have been non-existent with no reliable big man for the Raptors. They’re 29th in that regard. Expect Rudy Gobert to clean up the glass and prevent the Raptors from any easy buckets at the rim after misses.
Gobert has been a driving factor in the Jazz second ranked defense, which has allowed 107.4 points per game, and 44.7% shooting from the field. I don’t know if their offense gets rolling tonight without Mitchell and Conley, but the defense likely responds well versus a banged up Raptors team missing weapons. I like this game to stay UNDER the total in Utah on Saturday night.