By: Josh Weinstein
Be sure to visit homestand.ca to purchase your tickets for the Hoop Talks Toronto Basketball Summit on March 28. Doug Smith, Sherman Hamilton, Paul Jones, Michael Grange, Eric Koreen, and Ashley Docking will be there. Will you?
After dismantling the Atlanta Hawks with ease, the Toronto Raptors return home with their sights set on a second win a row when they host the Utah Jazz Friday night.
The Raps put forth a complete team effort in Atlanta on Wednesday to the point where the outcome never seemed to be in doubt. When Dwane Casey can confidently rely on any one of his rotation players – like Fred VanVleet, who scored a team-high 19 points on Wednesday in Atlanta – to play at a high level during any given game, it provides him such a coaching luxury. Casey doesn't have to keep his rotations set in stone when he has an abundance of options, which also puts the pressure on the Raptors players to constantly perform at a high level. If they want to keep their jobs, they have to thrive, otherwise the next man up could take their place.
Toronto can improve to an impressive 18-3 at home with a win.
This is the second time this season the Jazz get to face the Raptors. In the two teams' first meeting of the season back on November 3, Utah ended up dropping the contest 109-100 in Salt Lake City. Since then, Donovan Mitchell has truly emerged as one of the leading rookie of the year front-runners, scoring just under 20 points per game. The high-flying rook has been one of the few bright spots for Utah in a season that's seen many of the roster's players, including star centre Rudy Gobert, suffer through injuries. Now that the Stifle Tower is back, the Jazz gain some much-needed rim protection that hopefully, for the team's sake, helps them squeak back into a playoff spot out West.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM ET. Here are the projected starting lineups: