NBA Regular Season Game #28:
Utah Jazz (6-21) @ Orlando Magic (8-17)
Remember when Shaq and Penny were a thing?
The Jazz started off their five game road trip against the Miami Heat and it wasn't pretty (preview / game thread / recap). The trip continues though, tonight against the Orlando Magic. Orlando just came back from a series of road trips and get to spend the holidays at home; 8 of their last 9 games were on the road, so it is somewhat justified. Their home stand starts tonight, then they host the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, and Golden State Warriors. They want to start things off with a win tonight. Which would be nice for them because they've gone 2-8 in their last 10. But they did win their last game, so that counts, right?
Utah isn't any better. In fact you could say we're worse overall for the season (6 wins is less than 8), but we've "heated up" and are 4-6 in our last 10. Of course, we're on the road, where we're 3-11, and the Magic are 5-6 at home. Both are bad records, but it's not always about what happened in the past. But, if you care about historical stuff, the Jazz are 29-19 against the Magic, and a surprisingly good 12-12 in their gym. Tonight is what counts, not stuff that happened back when Nick Anderson was a rookie.
Still though, rookies are going to feature prominently in this game as the Magic and Jazz both boast two rookie of the year candidates in Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke. Both guards are going to see the ball a lot tonight, but they aren't one man shows. Take a look for yourself:
Orlando Player Stats:
Afflalo is having an all-star season, Vucevic is averaging a double double, and Nelson and Davis are still quality NBA players. Their best players are efficient and proficient. They have a bad record because they have played poorly, not that they are poor. They don't seem very beefy inside -- but that's a depth thing. Nik and Big Baby are big enough. But I guess it's going to be up to our size to push them around a bit. After all, the Magic are good three point shooters, we're going to have to win the paint to win this game.
Utah Player Stats:
|9||John Lucas III||1||21||18.4||5.0||1.1||1.5||0.6||2.5||0.3||0.0||6.3||16.0%||12.7%||3.6%|
We're pretty used to what we have, but when you compare it to another small market, developing team it's nice to see that we're not doing it wrong. Our players are good and getting opportunities now. I can say that as a fan these games are fun to watch.
It's just not fun to pour over the team stats.
Orlando is #21 in offense and #20 in defense by points per game (97.0 up, 101.2 down); they play at the #12th fastest pace in the league so if you adjust for pace they are #25 in offensive rating and #16 in defense rating (101.0 vs 105.3). Funny how that works with pace, huh? Their main plan of attack seems to be from outside, as they have taken the #12th most threes this year and do well there. They seem to shoot well all around, but don't really get to the line or anything like that. Jumpshooters, amirite? (Wait, we're a jump shooting team this year too... crap!)
They are middle of the road everywhere except when it comes to defensive rebounding %, where they are #3 in the NBA at 76.4%. That's fun because the Jazz main plan of attack seems to be missing shots and then getting second and third chance opportunities. That battle is going to be fun to watch.
Both teams had the night off last night, and are both healthy. It's going to be a good game.