ICYMI: The official Terrence Ross Poster; R.I.P., Manimal
Pics from Raptors/Nets game
In Portland, against a better and more-rested Trail Blazers team, the Raptors fell into the NBA back-to-back trap and lost 106-103. It’s more of a mental thing than physical, but it happens enough that coaches refer to it with some regularity. A team comes into the second game on consecutive nights knowing there’s this built-in excuse of fatigue having just played the night before and, despite warnings, let that affect their play. The good teams, the veteran teams, overcome it. The less experienced fall into it which is what Casey saw in the first half in Portland. “The first half, we came out with a typical back-to-back approach. It wasn’t us,” Casey said. “ I thought we picked it up in the second half but, again, you can’t spot a good team like Portland that many points and expect to survive.” The Blazers were up by as many as 19 in that first half and went to the locker room ahead by 17. “I commend our guys for fighting and scrapping in the second half, but we have to start the game with that approach even on a back-to-back,” Casey said.
Head Coach Tyrone Corbin addressed the question, ‘Are the Utah Jazz too young to win?’ earlier in the season. “They are young and some are growing into the position that they are in,” Corbin said. “I have said to the guys and I’ll continue to say it, we just have to work our way through this. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. This will show a lot about who we are and who you are. How you fight through adversity. How do you come back and compete after getting your butt kicked a little bit the night before. We have to continue to learn those lessons now so we don’t have to get them later on.”
Toronto has a chance to match Central-leading Indiana and Southeast-leading Miami with an East-best 14 road wins. The Raptors, however, have dropped seven of eight at Utah by an average of 14.9 points. Their only win there since 2006 was a 111-106 double-overtime victory on Jan. 25, 2012.
The Jazz is one of the more offensively challenged teams in the NBA averaging just 94.7 points a night, better than just four other teams in the NBA. Trey Burke, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft missed 12 games with a right index finger injury but has been very good for the Jazz since his return. His 13.1 points a night are third on the team behind just Hayward and Derrick Favours. The big change in Utah has been in the frontcourt where the departures of Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap have put the spotlight squarely on Enes Kanter and Favors. Favors has been dealing with some hip issues of late. The Jazz was handled by the Raptors earlier this season in a game Toronto won 115-91 but are clearly a team that plays much better at home than on the road. Toronto has only won in Utah four times in 17 attemps in franchise history.
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