The Orlando Magic are tonight welcoming the Utah Jazz into the Amway on Game Day 34. This will not be an easy task again for the Magic against the NBA’s current top team.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP – WELCOMING THE UTAH JAZZ INTO THE AMWAY
The Jazz are on the second night of a back-to-back. Last night playing in Miami the Jazz lost 116-124 to the Heat. Six Utah players made double figure scoring. Donovan Mitchell led the team with 30 points. Rudy Gobert scored a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Magic took a heavy loss in Brooklyn to the Nets on Thursday night by 92-129. The team was again led by Nikola Vucevic, who was one of only a few Magic players to perform well in the game. Vooch hit 28 points and 12 rebounds for another double-double. The performance was not a confidence booster.
The Jazz have won 11 of 16 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 8 of 17 games at home in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 13-20, whilst Utah are 26-7. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Jazz have a 8-2 record, whilst Orlando are 4-6. Utah prior to last night had won their last two games, including an emphatic beating of the Lakers. Orlando have lost their last two games.
Results see Utah holding the best record in the NBA and 1st in the Western Conference. Orlando are now 13th in the Eastern Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE UTAH JAZZ
The Jazz come into the game as the NBA’s 4th ranked offensive team, scoring a league top 3 average of 116 points per game. A defensive rating at 2nd sees them conceding an average of 106.4 points per game. This team is built to score big and concede little.
Offensively they play at slow pace for the NBA, 22nd ranked. They are happy to be patient and use all the shot clock. That does not preclude an explosive pace that is present, just not used as their standard mode. Scoring wise only 41.5% comes from inside the paint, the league’s least. A league leading 43.8% of their points per game come from beyond the arc. They shoot 46.7% from the field and 39.6% with the 3 ball. Something that surprised me is the fairly low assist figure, at 23.7 per game.
Defensively they rate well in blocks (5.5 per game) but less so for steals (6.3 per game). They turn the ball over at a rate of 14.4 times per game. On average they foul 18.8 times per game. Orlando by contrast foul only 16.9 times per game, the best record in the NBA..
THE UTAH JAZZ SQUAD
Coach Quin Snyder has talent and star power to use. He also has no injury concerns beyond centre Udoka Azubuike (1 PPG) who is out.
Last night in Miami the Jazz started Rudy Gobert (14.1 PPG), Donovan Mitchell (24.3 PPG), Mike Conley (16.2 PPG), Royce O’Neale (7.6 PPG) and Bojan Bogdanovic (15.4 PPG).
From the bench came Joe Ingles (11.6 PPG), Jordan Clarkson (18.1 PPG), Georges Nang (5.1 PPG) and Derrick Favors (6.4 PPG).
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: UTAH JAZZ
This is the first meeting this season between the two teams.
Last season saw the Jazz sweep Orlando 2-0. The Jazz are on a 3 game streak against Orlando and have won 3 of the last 4 Orlando homecourt fixtures. The Orlando homecourt victory of December 2018 was played in Mexico City.
Across the 62 regular season games played the Magic trail by 23-39. Since season 2015-16, in the 10 games played Orlando have 3 wins.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
The injury report is now back up 5 players.
According to ESPN:
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is day-to-day.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is now out until after All Star with a non-displaced rib fracture.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) was set to miss 4 to 6 weeks from February 1st with a severe left ankle sprain.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G-League season began on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP WELCOMING THE UTAH JAZZ INTO THE AMWAY
The starting unit against Brooklyn was again Michael Carter-Williams (7.9 PPG), Al-Farouq Aminu (3.2 PPG), Evan Fournier (18.3 PPG), James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (24.1 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (15.3 PPG), Chasson Randle (4.8 PPG), , Chuma Okeke (4.4 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.2 PPG), Mo Bamba (4.5 PPG), Gary Clark (3.4 PPG) and Khem Birch (6.1 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 13th
SEASON RECORD – 13-20
HOME RECORD – 8-9
ROAD RECORD – 5-11
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 30TH OF 30 (105.2)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 15TH OF 30 (111.2)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (104.8)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 11TH OF 30 (111.2)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 6-3
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 11-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 9-1
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-13
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 4-5
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 3-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 5-0
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 5-1
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 3-6
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-8
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
In the latest episode we’re joined by Magic fan Dan Sheppard from the UK to breakdown the 3 game winning streak that the Magic had. We also previewed the upcoming schedule with the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz. Dan talks about how he became a fan of the Magic, his favourite players and more.
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KEYS TO THE GAMES
Whilst Coach Clifford will be welcoming the Utah Jazz into the Amway he will be looking to get the job done and take a much needed win.
Again no Magic fan is under any illusion, with the squads the two teams have; the Jazz have a huge edge. That is the case today with injuries and if fully fit. Orlando’s injury issues are still impacting, considering that they are to three starters and the back-up point guard.
As the team from Salt Lake City arrive in Orlando many fans of both teams see the game as a foregone conclusion but neither coach will.
For Orlando scoring is a key, hit less than 100 points and we almost certainly lose. There is a need for the Magic to see others take on some of the scoring duties, Vucevic can not do it alone.
Orlando need to have good energy, find effective and accurate ball movement and get a better percentage of shooting accuracy. The team can not afford to get into foul trouble and must limit those live ball turnovers. None of this will be easily achieved against an elite defensive team, that includes Rudy Gobert.
Coach Clifford will be planning for the multiple threats possessed by Donovan Mitchell. He is far from the only threat. Bogdanovic has hit 86 three point field goals this year. Jordan Clarkson is seen by many as the NBA 6th Man Of The Year, he has hit 107 three pointers this season. There are multiple other threats that this team have and it is impossible to stop them all.
As in Brooklyn defence will be where Orlando must build from to be in with a shout in this game. Recent wins have come from that improved focus.