NBA Regular Season: Utah Jazz (14-14) at Orlando Magic (12-14) -- Game Preview

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Game #29 • Amway Center • Orland, FL • December 22, 2012 • 4:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports • RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM and 1600 AM ESPN Deportes

NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 29:

Utah Jazz (14-14) at Orlando Magic (12-14)

#UTAatORL Game Stream -- Orlando Pinstriped Post -- Jazz vs Magic coverage

Jazz looking to finish pre-Christmas Road Trip strong win a win in Orlando

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The Basics:

This is the last game of a 4 game road trip for the Jazz. It is also the 2nd night of a back to back for them; four games in six nights, and yadda, yadda, yadda. It's still only December and we shouldn't be worrying about fatigue. After all, we had two nights off in Miami before the Miami game. The Jazz are 5-5 in their last 10 and aren't really scoring that well. They haven't scored 100 or more points in a game since December 9th, 5 games ago.

Orlando just lost to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, and it was a close game. That broke their 4 game winning streak. They're playing great defense during this stretch and haven't had a team score 100 or more on them since Dec 2nd, 10 games ago. They're killing it on defense. Of course, their win streak included wins against the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats -- but also impressive victories against the Minnesota Timberwolves and resurgent Golden State Warriors.

Orlando is well rested, we played last night. But still, both teams are looking forward to Christmas. It's a super early game. Wow, it's in 2 hours from now. I really need to speed things up.

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History:

According to the good people who make that jazz.pdf before every game, we're 28-19 all-time against the Magic; however, we're only 11-12 on the road there. Also, they explain that we've won 7 of the last 10 match ups against them. The team played only once last year, and we won 117-107 in overtime. It was a huge win for us during our #playoffpush. We've also played each other once already this season, and beat them 87-81 at home. In that game Jameer Nelson had 17 points, and 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Glen Davis had 18 and 12. J.J. Redick came off the bench to score 14 points (and had 4 assists), but he missed all 5 of this three point attempts. The guy on their team who scares me the most is Arron Afflalo, who shot 58.3 fg% on Randy Foye, and finished with 16 points and a handful of other stats.

I'm a little worried about the Afflalo / Foye match up. It almost makes too much sense to play a dude like Alec Burks on him; especially since Burks has shown capable in spurts to successfully defend Kobe Bryant, James Harden, and Kevin Martin. Watch those sequences all over again in Synergy if you are a doubter. I contest that Burks, in spurts, is a useful guy on defense. Mixing in him, DeMarre Carroll, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, and yes Randy Foye, should be something Corbin goes to more. Different looks on defense throw scorers off their games because it forces them to re-learn and re-adjust to how someone wants to guard them.

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Scouting, Stats, and Stereotypes:

Yeah, taking it easy on this road trip, I am. I reflect the team I blog about. They are pretty mediocre, but are great on defense right now. We're pretty mediocre as well. So it's going to be an interesting game.

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Injury Report:

Magic Injuries --

  • Glen Davis (PF) OUT -- Big Baby is out with a sprained left shoulder, and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
  • Hedo Turkoglu (SF/SG/PF) OUT -- Hedo is out indefinitely after recovering from left hand surgery.
  • Al Harrington (PF/SF) OUT -- Al is out indefinitely after recovering from left knee surgery.

Jazz Injuries --

  • Mo Williams (PG) OUT -- Mo sustained a sprain in his right thumb last night in Miami. He is going to get an MRI, the X-Rays were negative. But, I don't expect him to rush back.
  • Raja Bell (SG) OUT -- Raja really is in crunch time right now trying to build his Mayan 2012 Bunker, he's a little behind schedule, but damn it, he's gotta finish it!

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Advantage --

I would say the Jazz, without Mo Williams, are like a boat without a sail. As he goes we go, when he's pushing the ball up the court and getting us easy baskets we're a way better team. That said, Orlando is missing three guys who would be rotation dudes, and all of them are forwards. Right now Jameer Nelson is shooting like poop (39.4 fg%, 27.6 3pt%) so not having Mo isn't going to hurt us if he continues to play at his current level this year. Our strength is in inside, so this should work out in our favor.

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The Game:

Super early game. Super rushed game stream.

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Player Focus:

Randy Foye. Really. Randy Foye, our starting shooting guard (and therefore -- best shooting guard) needs to have one of this "but look at what he did in THIS game" type games in order to quite the audible murmurs about his play of late. I'm not necessarily a Foye fan, but I know what he's good at -- and have written at large about how great he is at it -- but I don't know if less is more with him. I love that he has the green light that Hornacek never had, and the green light bonus to shooters is something which we can calculate. (I know, because I calculated it earlier this year)

That said, while I'm not a fan, and I know what he's good at -- he's gotta perform as well.

Here are his points and fg%, and three point shooting from his last 10 games:

  • vs LAC: 19 points, 63.6 fg%, 3/7 from three
  • vs ORL: 3 points, 14.3 fg%, 1/6 from three
  • vs TOR: 13 points, 45.5 fg%, 3/6 from three
  • @ LAL: 7 points, 30.0 fg%, 1/6 from three
  • vs SAS: 13 points, 50.0 fg%, 3/6 from three
  • @ PHX: 10 points, 23.1 fg%, 1/4 from three
  • vs MEM: 4 points, 40.0 fg%, 0/2 from three
  • @ BRK: 8 points, 42.9 fg%, 2/5 from three
  • @ IND: 7 points, 30.0 fg%, 1/6 from three
  • @ MIA: 2 points, 11.1 fg%, 0/4 from three

What does that all add up to? 8.6 ppg, while shooting very, very poorly.

Gm29_--_foye_stat

Yep. We need him to make more shots. That means setting better screens, and helping him get open too. We know he's a good shooter. We need him to shoot well. His last game against Orlando had him going 1/7 and getting beaten on the post by Afflalo. He's the target on defense, and he's not going to get better. So to justify him playing half the game, every game, then he's gotta make shots.

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X-Factors:

Rebounds. But ours. Orlando is #1 in their DRB% (75.4%). And our offense isn't efficient enough to win without getting offensive rebounds. That's what's going to be a major battle. Another will be three point shooting. Orlando is 26th in the league of making them, and we're supposed to be hot from downtown. So . . . we can't let them go off, and we can't keep throwing up bricks.

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Word from the Badguys:

Everyone is busy with Christmas stuff. It's hard to wrangle people.

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As an aside:

Remember little penny?

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Fearless Prediction:

Jazz win, why? Because we're going to finish 2-2 on this road trip!

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