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Utah Jazz travel to happiest place on earth to take on Orlando Magic

Can the Jazz continue to stay undefeated in this decade?

NBA: Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz (22-12) face off against the Orlando Magic (16-19) tonight in Orlando, the second game in another short road trip that will finish off in New Orleans on Monday. The Magic are a weird team - in the span of the last week, they’ve lost to the NBA-last Atlanta Hawks (now 7-28) but pulled off a stunning (105-85) destruction of the eastern conference surprise Miami Heat (25-10) last night.

What’s most amazing to me is that the Magic have a comfortable hold on the 8th seed - the 9th seeded Hornets are (14-23), somewhat fighting the (16-17) Nets but far behind the (23-14) 6th seeded 76ers (!!). It’s really a top heavy league in both conferences right now. Can you believe the 8th seeded Spurs being only at (14-19) right now?

The other main storyline with the Magic is their rehabilitation of Markelle Fultz, who has played well enough to get promoted to the starting lineup for 29 of 34 games played and is averaging a decent 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.7 steals. His shooting isn’t great (45.7% from the field, 25.4% from three) but he looks much better than the first pick with horribly wonky shooting issues that the 76ers gave up on just two seasons into his career. He’s probably still a net negative on the court (101 ORtg, 108 DRtg) but the 21 year old’s development is worth noting.

Game Info

When: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 • 5:00 PM MT

Where: Amway Center • Orlando, FL

TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports Florida

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone, 96.9 FM THE GAME / 98.1 SALSA Y MAS

What to watch for

The Jazz Frontcourt vs the Magic Frontcourt

Let’s talk about Bojan Bogdanovic. Even on an off night (5/13 shooting) against the Bulls, against he was the leading scorer with 19 points. He lead the Jazz with a 30 point effort last time around against the Magic in the win at home. He’s been the perfect secondary scorer next to Donovan Mitchell this year.

In the other frontcourt matchup, Rudy gets to dunk on yet another all-star center who’s managed to get the accolade in spite of being objectively less impactful on thee court. To be fair to Vucevic, he’s been the Magic’s primary offensive weapon for the last five or so seasons while having few others to consistently support him offensively or defensively (other than maybe Evan Fournier). He’s even developed a respectable outside shot, shooting 35.2% on 4.4 attempts per game this year. But with Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, and Al-Farouq Aminu out, the Magic have a decimated power forward position, so look for Bojan, Jingles, and Rudy to feast against Khem Birch and Mo Bamba tonight.

Mandatory Highlight

Game Thread Ground Rules

Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.

Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.