Utah Jazz 137, Orlando Magic 91
Sometimes the score says it all.
The Utah Jazz defeated the Orlando Magic 137-91 and set up an offensive clinic against a Magic team now ravaged by the flu. The Magic were largely powerless to stop the jazz as they took three after three after three.
Utah scored 18 3-pointers in the first half alone to set the tone for the game. The jazz fired early, as did their tendency and pattern. This is the number 3 3-point shooting team in the league. Orlando had no answer and couldn’t follow her at all.
Orlando’s offensive had little power, even if the team won in the last three games and had a chance to win. The magic just didn’t have the firepower to keep up. And the jazz punished the magic for their missed recordings, which could turn transition opportunities into easy recordings.
The Orlando Magic couldn’t keep up with the Utah Jazz’s 3-point shooting as their efforts waned in the face of a stomach issue that (again) devastated the team.
Again the score says it all.
The Magic made 2 out of 23 3-pointers (8.7 percent) compared to 26 out of 55 of Jazz. The volume of 3 pointers along with the percentage is just the big difference between one of the best shooting and offensive teams in the league and that Magic team that is still aggressively organizing and figuring out how to play together.
Orlando hasn’t been offensively good since the deal – statistically even worse than before the deal, which is obvious when you consider who the magic dealt with – and eventually defending against a team with all of their offensive weapons available gave way.
The magic stayed frustrated, they couldn’t work their way back into the game. And the truth is, a team’s efforts can only achieve half of it. As Steve Clifford said before the game on the Bally Sports Florida broadcast – and has said this repeatedly throughout the season – the team still has to play well to win.
Orlando definitely didn’t play well in Salt Lake City on Saturday night. And that’s the result when the magic doesn’t play well.
Many of Orlando Magic’s plans to experiment with lineups went out the window when the team, thanks to the 3-point barrage of the Utah Jazz and Mohamed Bamba, who struggled and looked as sluggish as illness would cause a player, fell out of the window. left the game with the stomach bug going around the team. Wendell Carter was on an island and had to deal with Rudy Gobert and the constant attacks of jazz.
This Magic team just wasn’t good enough to win. And that was clear in the first half, as everyone either felt like they were forcing things or were too scared to do something. Carter scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half to become the Magic’s top scorer. He added 12 rebounds. But he was largely calm before the game got out of hand, and didn’t play with the energy and intensity that had made him key to victories in the last two games.
Chuma Okeke isn’t quite as high as it was last week. His activity is still high and he is finding ways to contribute. But the defense is starting to change how they defend him and he has to find new ways to stay effective. His 3-point shooting is starting to decline as he missed all three of his 3-point shots on Saturday.
Okeke finished 7v15 with 16 points. Like Wendell Carter, Chuma Okeke did much of his damage in the second half, where he scored 12 points in 5v9 shooting. The game was over by then. So that little bit of positive dynamic should help. His game is slowly expanding, but magic needs to see him grow up and expand his offensive repertoire.
RJ Hampton is certainly the roughest of the young Orlando Magic players. Some nights he shows flashes of what could make him great. And to others he shows the inexperience and inconsistency that his promise promises. On one sequence in the first half, RJ Hampton blew past Jordan Clarkson with a false dribble handoff and reached the edge at a bit of a blinding speed. On another one in the same quarter, RJ Hampton passed him again but couldn’t move around Derrick Favors blocking his layup.
Hampton’s speed is his best attribute right now. And he can score if he drives straight to the edge. He’s still putting a lot of things together in his game. But they’re slowly coming together as he gets more playtime and more comfort. He finished that game with 12 points in 5v14 shooting with eight ricochets. You have to appreciate the willingness to move further towards the edge.
Terrence Ross had a team best of -10 in the plus / minus column. His presence is still positive for the Orlando Magic. The defense respects and raves about him. And the magic probably started, rightly, capping his minutes when it was clear the game was out of control. The magic just doesn’t have many other places to go.
And that’s the core of the disappointment for Ross. The team has always risen and fallen on its production and ability to shoot. But now more than ever, magic needs Ross to be efficient and ruthless. His ability to take his turn lately is the only positive offensive. He doesn’t shoot – he scores 12 points in 2v11 shooting. And there just isn’t much else in his game to make up for that.
Look, some nights the better team just have a really good night and there isn’t much the other team can do. If that team is the leading Utah jazz team up against a seedy Orlando Magic team, that’s exactly what happens. The jazz has been locked up and dialed up. They achieved 47.3 percent of their 3-point points, including 18 out of 31 (58.1 percent) in the first half. What should a team like Magic do with it?
This game quickly became formulaic and pro forma. Utah was 18 points ahead of the first quarter and Orlando would never be able to threaten. The jazz grabbed the color and challenged the shots. The magic didn’t have the shooting to make a real threat. Utah is just so good and was so good that night.
The Orlando Magic are now 17-32 and 13th in the Eastern Conference. They are three games behind the Chicago Bulls to finish last in the play-in tournament. The Orlando Magic end their road trip with five games on Sunday against the Denver Nuggets in Denver.