Beat-up Jazz look to avoid a Raptor attack

At 4-15 overall and only 1-11 on the road this season, the Toronto Raptors appear to be easy targets for the Jazz when the two teams meet Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

But the Jazz may not have the luxury of a full roster, which makes the Raptors a little more dangerous.

Center Al Jefferson (back spasms), point guard Mo Williams (gastric distress) and power forward Derrick Favors (Plantar facsiitis) have been listed as game-time decisions, meaning they’ll go home, rest and return to the arena for a final evaluation before the game starts.

Jefferson, who took a shot to the back late in Wednesday’s victory over Orlando, quickly left Friday’s morning shootaround, stopping briefly to tell reporters he wasn’t sure if he would be cleared to play.

He also joked that he thought he could run 10 miles if needed. He did not appear to be in any physical discomfort as he left the building.

“Al just comes in and looks like Al,” teammate Paul Millsap said. “You’re not going to know if he’s hurt or anything. He’s just going to come in and try to do his job.”

Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the Jazz beat the Magic on Wednesday.

Favors, who has three straight with the right foot injury, was able to go through a light practice on Thursday as well as Friday’s shootaround.

He said the pain and swelling has gone down but some soreness remains. As he spoke after shootaround it seemed clear he wanted to play.

“My foot’s feeling good, feeling a lot better since the last couple days,” he said. “I’ll just go out and see how it feels during all pregame warm-ups. If it feels good, I’ll go. If it still feels a little sore, I might just sit out.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Utah’s injuries won’t change his philosophy.

“It won’t change anything. We’ve got to be who we are,” he said. “I don’t think the Jazz are going to change their style of play regardless. They’ve got some other good players sitting o the bench.”

Casey specifically mentioned Favors and reserve big man Enes Kanter as capable fill-ins for Jefferson.

When told Favors was also a game-time decision, Casey mentioned seldom-used forward Jeremy Evans as another player who could get the job done for the Jazz.

“The Evans young man can still play,” he said. “He’s a good athlete.”

The Jazz beat the Raptors 140-133 in triple overtime Nov. 12 in Toronto.

Jefferson scored 24 points and had 17 rebounds in that game. He also hit a rare 3-pointer to force overtime.

The win marked Utah’s first road win of the season. The Raptors beat Indiana the following ┬ánight for their only road win of the season thus far.


About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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