It’s an inter-conference matchup down in the Sunshine State on the hardwood. The Utah Jazz continue a road swing on the east coast as they take on the Orlando Magic Saturday night. Utah had dropped six of seven heading into a Friday night tilt in the Big Apple against the Nets. Orlando has dropped three straight and five of seven as they were beaten 99-94 on the road by Portland Wednesday night. The Jazz hold a 34-22 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams and have won 10 of the last 13 meetings, including both last year.
Utah Jazz Playing Second Game of Back to Back
Utah played the second game of their four game road trip against Eastern Conference foes Friday night. The Jazz will close out their road trip with a stop against Philadelphia after this contest. Utah entered Friday’s action 10th in the Western Conference, 5.5 games behind the Rockets for the top spot. The Jazz trailed the Timberwolves by 3.5 games in the Northwest Division race and stood 1.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Entering Friday, Utah was a dismal 0-5 on the road and had gone 1-4 against the Eastern Conference this season.
The Jazz enter this contest 28th in the league in scoring offense with 98.5 points per game. Utah is in the lower half of the pack, ranking 27th in the league in rebounding with 40.1 boards per game. The Jazz is 27th in the league in assists with 19.5 per contest. Utah currently is 5th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 100.7 points per game. Ricky Rubio is contributing in his first season with the Jazz with 13.6 points plus 5.5 assists and 1.87 steals per game on the year. Joe Ingles (10.1 points) and Rudy Gobert (13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks) are solid options. Gobert is expected to miss four to six weeks with a right tibia contusion. Derrick Favors (10.9 points) and Rodney Hood (team leading 16.8 points) are other key pieces for the Jazz. Joe Johnson, Alec Burks, Jonas Jerebko, Thabo Sefolosha, Donovan Mitchell (14.9 points) and Ekpe Udoh are contributors for coach Quin Snyder. Utah is 26th in the league as they shoot 43.2 percent from the floor. The Jazz are 14th in the league in threes per game as they knock down 10.6 triples a night. Utah is 15th in the league in three point shooting as they knock down 35.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Orlando Magic Try to Stop Skid in Return Home
Orlando comes into this one on a three game skid after falling in Portland to close a four game trip against Western Conference foes 1-3. The Magic have dropped five of seven overall after starting the year off 6-2. Orlando led by nine after the first quarter but was outscored 27-14 in the second: they were unable to recover in the second half. The Magic shot 46.8 percent from the floor and knocked down 11 of 29 from three point range. Orlando was torched by Portland from the perimeter as the Trail Blazers knocked down 14 of 27 three point attempts. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 22 points in the loss.
The Magic has been good in the early going putting the ball in the basket: they are 7th in the league with 108.7 points per game. Orlando stands 24th on the glass with 41.2 boards per contest and is 4th with 24.8 assists a night. The Magic is 22nd in scoring defense as they allow 107.2 points a game. Nikola Vucevic is third on Orlando with 17.4 points plus 7.5 rebounds per game. Evan Fournier contributes 19.7 points a night, Aaron Gordon averages 17.8 points and 7.7 boards a game while Johnathon Simmons contributes 15.1 points a night. Elfrid Payton, D.J. Augustin (8.3 points, 5.1 assists), Terrence Ross, Mario Hezonja, Arron Afflalo, Shelvin Mack, Marreese Speights and Jonathan Isaac are all components of Frank Vogel’s rotation. The Magic is 7th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.3 percent as a team. Orlando is tied for 3rd with 11.7 made threes per game while the team is 3rd in three point percentage as they shoot 39.7 percent from downtown.
- Jazz are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference
- Jazz are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- Jazz are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games
- Magic are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Western Conference
Orlando was hot to start the season but finds itself in a cold stretch right now. The Magic has to get back on track and a lot of that stems from the defensive end as they’re shooting the ball well. Utah, on the other hand, is struggling and injuries are piling up: Gobert is already out and the team announced Friday that Rubio would miss at least one game with a sore Achilles. The Jazz don’t have the proven veteran pieces like they had in previous years, especially with Joe Johnson on the shelf as well. Utah is playing the second game of a back to back here and that works against them as well: the Magic gets the nod at home to snap their slide.