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Utah’s inconsistency makes it past customs, Jazz lose to Orlando Magic

There goes Utah’s “easiest” game in December.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic Jose Mendez-USA TODAY Sports

The league wanted to give Mexico a taste of the NBA. After today those fans are going to have a bitter aftertaste. The Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic looked like a couple of teams that either had too much of a good time in Mexico City last night or had A LOT of trouble getting used to the altitude. The Orlando Magic beat the Utah Jazz . It wasn’t exactly pretty, and it resulted in a terrible loss in a stretch in their schedule that doesn’t have many gimmes.

In the first half alone, the Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic both had two of the Association’s worst offensive ratings for a first half in the same game. They combined for 68 points and 21 turnovers for a mistake laden ugly game. The Orlando Magic shot 39% from the field while the Utah Jazz shot 28.9%. The Jazz had the lead 35-33 after 24 minutes due to the Orlando Magic turning the ball over almost on every possession. Out of those 21 turnovers, the Magic were responsible for 16 of them.

This game was ugly.

Derrick Favors led all scorers with 10 after the 1st half with Donovan Mitchell scoring all 7 of his points in the 2nd quarter.

It didn’t get better immediately when the second half started. Rudy Gobert missed a point blank dunk hard off the back iron and Joe Ingles missed an easy layup with the first two shots of the 2nd half for Utah. But then Utah’s offense finally got going with Mitchell getting to the rim and Rubio pushing Utah in transition.

Utah started to break it out in the second quarter as the shots started falling, but Utah’s uneven season performance came back to bite them in this game. Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors seemed to be the only Jazz players who could efficiently get the ball in the rim.

Ricky Rubio—left open purposefully by Orlando’s defense—could not capitalize on all his open looks. He finished 3-14 from the field and 0-4 from three.

Evan Fournier finished off Utah—don’t google that. He had 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting. The Utah Jazz just couldn’t just stop him.

For a second at the end of the 4th quarter, it appeared that Utah might be able to sneak back into this despite shooting only 31% for the game but back to back threes by Aaron Gordon and DJ Augustine put the nail in the coffin for this terribly disappointing loss ... until they didn’t.

Donovan Mitchell got to the line for two and then the Magic turned the ball over and fouled Rubio right away. That series of plays pulled Utah within 5 points with 31.8 seconds left to play. But it was too little too late.

Takeaways & Reaction

This is not a good loss no matter what way you look at it. Orlando is a paper tiger. I said in the preview that if you want to blame the schedule for being rough on Utah, then you have to expect Utah to bury paper tigers. They didn’t. They had their worst offensive game of the year despite owning the turnover battle 22-10.

The reason this loss is so bad is there are not many “easy” games left on the schedule, not until New York at the end of the month. Utah will now go to play Houston in Houston on Monday. Houston has their last two games and could be on a three game winning streak by the time Utah pulls into town.

This loss is brutal. Anytime you play an opponent who has TWELVE more turnovers than you and you still lose? That’s terrible. This was a neutral court. The Jazz hadn’t played since Wednesday. No one should give the Tim Duncan eyes when they hear that people don’t know who this Jazz team is. They’re good enough to show up for two games and bad enough to lose to the Magic.

This is disappointing. Good luck to Dennis Lindsey who has to figure out whether he has a roster that can go on a run after this difficult stretch or if it exceeded its potential last year.