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Utah Jazz vs. Orlando Magic: Game Preview

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Can the Jazz work a little magic on the second night of a back-to-back? ..... I’ll see myself out.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz (25-16) are back at the Viv for the second game of a back-to-back, as they take on the Orlando Magic (17-24). The Magic are also playing on their second night of a back-to-back, flying in from Portland after defeating the Blazers 115-109. Nikola Vucevic went OFF and scored 30 points on 13-18 shooting, and added 10 rebounds. The game will be broadcasted at 7:00pm MST on ROOT Sports.

A year or two ago, some branded the Orlando Magic as the Eastern Conference Jazz, as they were a team filled with a bunch of young talent, yet to discover their full potential. This season, I believe the brand no longer fits, as the Jazz have emerged as a force in the league, while the Magic are still trying to find their way. This matchup will be our second and final meeting of the 2016-17 regular season. In our first matchup, we escaped Orlando with a win, 87-74. Not exactly a barnburner. We were playing without George Hill, so we should be expecting a better offensive game this time around.

Stats from that game:

  • Gordon Hayward (39 mins): 20 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal
  • Derrick Favors (36 mins): 18 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 three
  • Rudy Gobert (34 mins): 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal
  • Evan Founier (38 mins): 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
  • Aaron Gordon (25 mins): 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals
  • D.J. Augustin (24 mins): 19 points, 3 assists, 3-6 from beyond the arc

Check out the full game recap here.

Current Western Conference Standings:

The Clippers, Grizzlies and Thunder are all off today, so don’t expect any crazy movement. The Jazz will need to win today in order to stay at the 5 seed over Memphis for now.

Things to #TakeNote of

  1. Has Dante Exum earned his way back into Quin’s rotation? Or maybe Shelvin Mack has played his way out of it... I have been more lenient than most on Mack’s playing time, but his defense and decision making has been substandard as of late. After a few DNP-CD’s, Exum played 16 minutes against the Pistons. He ended up with 4 points on 2-of-4 shooting, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 3 steals. Exum looked very good, and seemed to get to wherever he wanted to go on the floor. He and Derrick Favors had a dynamic two-man attack going on in the second half, and it was BEAUTIFUL.
  2. Is Rodney Hood’s slump busted? Over his young NBA career, Utah Jazz fans have known Hood to be a bit streaky. He will light teams up one day, and then go oh-fer from three the next day. After a brutal stretch of shooting during the last Jazz road trip, Hood has gone 11-18 from beyond the arc after returning home. Is the slump busted, or is this just an uptick for a streaky shooter? It may seem obvious, but when Hood is on his game, the Jazz are a much better team. The Jazz are 16-4 when Rodney Hood scores 15 points or more.
  3. I noticed something funny last night. How badly does Gordon Hayward want to be an All-Star? Well, instead of G’s usual safe/boring two-handed breakaway jam, last night on national television, he decided to go for the two-handed backscratcher:

Yeah... I think Gordon Hayward really wants to go to NOLA.

Go Jazz!