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Utah Jazz vs Orlando Magic: 5 Things to Watch

Can the Jazz get a streak going?

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

After stomping the Detroit Pistons, the Utah Jazz (25-16) will face the Orlando Magic (17-24). Here are five things to watch for:

1. Will Dante Exum Play?

There was a break in the clouds, the heavens opened and it happened. After another disappointing outing from Shelvin Mack, Quin Snyder FINALLY put in Dante Exum and he played solid.

At times it’s been baffling to see Quin’s refusal to put in Dante. We’ve seen him go to triple wings and other options in lieu of playing the 5th overall pick. Perhaps Quin got a text from Dennis asking him what is the deal. Either way it was great to see. Hopefully, Exum can get additional minutes and become a fantastic backup to George Hill.

2. Will there be a Derrick Favors rebound?

I’m not talking about boards here, I’m talking about getting the Favs we all know and love back. He’s really struggled. Against Detroit last night he had 9 points and 8 rebounds on 40% shooting.

Even though he was a +30 during the Pistons game, Derrick isn’t passing the eye test. He looks slow and without any lift. It makes me sad seeing chumps get blocks on him inside, too. If we can get Favs back to where he’s been in the past, we’re going to be very dangerous. Hopefully Derrick can start resembling the beast we all know and love.

3. Can the Jazz get a streak going?

The next 10 games on the Jazz’ schedule are very winnable. They have to build the win total if they want home court advantage in the playoffs. Did I really just write that? I think I did!

A big win streak would also get national attention right before all star break. We need every bit of good publicity we can to get Rudy and Gordon into the all star game. Winning against the Magic on a back to back will do a lot to get us started.

4. Will the Prince of Threes stay hot?

It appears Rodney Hood’s slump could be over.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Against the Pistons he went 7/8 from three. Against the Cavs he was a respectable 4/10 from three. If Rodney Hood is back and hitting his shots, our offense becomes a zerg rush of efficient three point shooting and offensive rebounds. Opponents visibly tap out with the amount of physicality, length and shooting from the Jazz.

In a lot of ways, Rodney is the difference between a close win and a blow out. Hopefully, against a bad Magic team, he can knock them out early so the Jazz can rest players. We need the streak!

5. Will Gordon Hayward continue to play out of his mind?

Against King James and the Cavs, Gordon shot 10/12 and had 28 points. Against the Pistons he was 8/12 for 20 points and sat most of the 4th quarter. He’s not a realistic MVP candidate, but I’m not going to smirk at someone chanting that at him at the free throw line.

Gordon deserves to be an all star. The stats show it, the win/loss record shows it, the advanced stats REALLY show it. It’s just whether the coaches get him in, hopefully they’ve seen what he does on a nightly basis. He’s putting up great stats, especially when you consider Utah’s pace, and he’s leading his team to a home court playoff spot. Anything less would be ridiculous and should be grounds for changing the way all stars are selected. Here’s to hoping the coaches do the right thing and vote in Gordon Hayward, legit all star.