In 2018, the Raptors made winning normal, acquired a superstar player, and ran circles around the league for most of the fall. In this case, maybe it’s best if we forgo the new year’s resolutions, right?
But there are still fixes to be made! We still haven’t seen much of a healthy Raptors team, a storyline that will probably continue early in 2019. After news that Kyle Lowry was on track for a return from back issues, the team released today that Lowry had received injections and there was no timetable for his return.
Kyle Lowry received injections on in his back on Dec. 29 to relieve pain and inflammation. He's still without a timetable for return.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 1, 2019
This leaves us with a team that’s struggled to dominate without their starting point guard in tow. While Kawhi Leonard has been tremendous over the past week, his supporting cast has struggled. Obviously, the absence of Jonas Valanciunas plays into this a lot too.
So tonight, the Raptors meet the Utah Jazz, a team with a similar predicament. The Jazz are still outside of the playoffs in the Western Conference, but they’re targeting this trip out east as an opportunity to string some wins together. After Toronto tonight, they play Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee before returning home for winnable games against Orlando, the Lakers, Chicago, and Detroit again.
Starting on the right note against a top team would really fire the Jazz up. In response, the Raptors will look for some better shooting from their supporting cast and, of course, Kawhi.
Here’s the game details — let’s get to the comments.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto - Fred VanVleet, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Utah - Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
Toronto - Kyle Lowry (out - back), Jonas Valanciunas (out - thumb)
Utah - Grayson Allen (out - ankle)