The Orlando Magic failed to get their offense going, as a lack of ball movement and the Utah Jazz’s swarming defense forced them to take bad shots.
The game started off very slowly for the Orlando Magic as the Utah Jazz jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead. It was a preview for the rest of the night — even though the Magic finished the first quarter with a flourish.
Orlando’s last two wins were strictly a result of great ball movement, and they completely were shy of that not only to start the game but throughout the whole game. The Jazz’s quick and shifty defense forced the Magic into shot clock issues throughout the game. Orlando shot 11 times in the last three seconds of the shot clock throughout the entirety of the game.
It was no surprise the tam was unable to keep things close after Joe Ingles had a 3-point barrage in the second quarter. Utah could never run away thanks to a strong Orlando defensive effort. But it was still a comfortable 94-80 win for the Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Monday.
The starting lineup struggled to get going offensively, as the Magic’s two best scorers, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon combined to shoot 8 for 36 (22 percent) from the field for the game. The Magic bench did not help either, aside from Mario Hezonja, no one else could get going as Shelvin Mack struggled off the bench, as well.
Jonathan Isaac was playing his third game back from a lengthy ankle injury, as he looked very rusty on the offensive end. But he did some very encouraging things on defense. He went up vertically to challenge a lot of shots at the rim. He even blocked two shots.
The Jazz continued their great play defensively, limiting the Magic to only 80 points and forcing 14 turnovers. Center Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds on a very efficient 9-for-10 shooting. He added two blocks too. He made it extremely challenging for Magic players to get into the paint, while he challenged well with his savvy 7-foot frame.
Joe Ingles and Jonas Jerebko chipped in with shooting lights out from beyond the arc as they combined for 30 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the 3-point line. Ingles, finished with eight assists as well. The rookie sensation, Donovan Mitchell played very well, as he finished with 19 points.
The Magic were sloppy on offense, shooting 34 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc. The Magic are not an isolation based team, they need to move the ball around to have success, as they have in the past.
One encouraging sign coming out of this game was the defense the Magic played. The team, for the most part, played well on that end. Aside from a few boneheaded errors, the team had a solid night on that end of the floor.
AARON GORDONPF, Orlando Magic
Gordon’s final stat line was not pretty. He scored 13 points on 4-for-18 shooting. He made just one of his six 3-pointers.
The Magic need Gordon to score, there is no denying that, but there needs to be better execution for him to score. Gordon’s struggles not only fall on him, but the coaching staff and his teammates have to do a better job of getting him good shots.
EVAN FOURNIERG/F, Orlando Magic
He was driving into closed spaces and was getting frustrated by the referees as well. On defense, he was not much better, he was given the assignment of guarding rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell. He did an adequate job, although, he did have a few slippages on that end.
The Magic have seen better from him — 12 points on 4-for-18 shooting — and he has consistently shown to rebound back from tough performances like this. Expect him to have a good bounce-back game versus the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
MARIO HEZONJAF, Orlando Magic
Hezonja made two back-to-back threes in the middle of the third to cut a 13-point lead down to seven. But the Jazz once again put their foot on the gas pedal. It was a tough game for the Magic. But Hezonja was the only player who played well on both ends. He did not get backed down easily in the post. He also had a solid night on the boards as he ended with three boards.
Hezonja finished with 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting. A solid effort from Hezonja.
UTAH JAZZ34-30, 10th West
This is the type of game Quin Snyder would have exactly drawn out from his team. There were times when the Magic went on a run and built a lead. But the Jazz quickly responded by getting stops and scoring on the other end. The Jazz are a very good team that is four games better than .500 but still only the 10th seed.
The Magic will go to the Staples Center to face the Lakers on Wednesday in their second game of this five-game road trip.