Saturday, September 23, 2023
Kota Sports Gambling Network

NBA Preview: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic

The Utah Jazz conclude a three-game road trip on Sunday with a visit to the Orlando Magic.

The matchup with Orlando completes the second back-to-back of the season for Utah, which dropped a 118-115 decision to the Miami Heat on Saturday despite Donovan Mitchell’s return to the lineup. The Jazz ended the month of October with a back-to-back, splitting road games against Chicago (107-99 loss) and Milwaukee (107-95 win).

Miami snapped Utah’s three-game winning streak with the help of Tyler Herro’s 29-point performance off the bench. The Northwest Division-leading Jazz also lost for just the second time in nine games.

Mitchell totaled a season-high 37 points on 14-for-28 shooting against the Heat, after he sat out Utah’s 116-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday with a sprained ankle. He also had seven assists and two steals.

Mike Conley (18 points, seven assists), Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points) and Royce O’Neale (15 points, six steals) scored in double figures as well for Utah, which nearly erased a 19-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Trailing by three points, Mitchell had an open look at a potential game-tying triple that missed to the right with nine seconds left.

Utah owns a 4-2 record away from home this season.

“I think we’ve learned a lot about ourselves as far as how resilient we can be on the road in different atmospheres,” Conley said ahead of the Miami game. “Now with fans back, the home-court advantages really kind of kick in. For us to withstand certain runs and different moments of different games has been impressive.”

Orlando started a five-game homestand with double-digit losses to Boston on Wednesday and San Antonio on Friday. At 0-4, the Magic are one of three NBA teams (Boston and New Orleans) without a home win this season.

A pair of Orlando players — leading scorer Cole Anthony (ankle) and Ignas Brazdeikis (ankle) — are listed as questionable for the Utah game. Anthony, who is averaging 18.9 points per game, had a team-high 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists against San Antonio.

Long-range shooting could play an important role as the Jazz and Magic rank among the league leaders in 3-point shots attempted. Utah shot 45 triples against Miami — the Jazz entered Saturday’s game averaging 42.3 3-pointers per game — while Orlando takes 39.2 triples on average per contest.

One bright spot for the Magic is an improved defensive rating (110.4) after they kept their last three opponents under 103 points. The Magic also registered 12 blocked shots against the Spurs as center Mo Bamba led the way with three.

But turnovers and cold shooting continue to plague Orlando’s offense, which did not reach 90 points against both Boston and San Antonio. The Magic shot 32 percent (53-for-167) beyond the arc and had 71 total turnovers in their first four home games this season.

After trailing 49-36 at halftime against San Antonio, Orlando closed within 87-80 on R.J. Hampton’s basket with 5:58 remaining. But the Magic committed five of their 18 turnovers from that point on, and San Antonio pulled away for a 102-89 victory.

“(Saturday) was a focus day,” Orlando head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “We talked about finishing at the rim, decision-making, knocking down and taking open shots when you’re available, spacing, and those times with the end-of-game scenarios.”

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