Orlando Magic vs. Utah Jazz (Feb. 27, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Bojan Bogdanovic has slowly established himself as a solid scorer capable of taking over games himself. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Bojan Bogdanovic has slowly established himself as a solid scorer capable of taking over games himself. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off a blowout loss to one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams, the Orlando Magic welcome the league’s best team in the Utah Jazz to the Amway Center as they look to break a two-game slide.

Orlando Magic (13-20) vs. Utah Jazz (26-7)


8 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$34-$415 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Tonight in Orlando; April 3 in Salt Lake City

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OMD Prediction

The Orlando Magic’s record against teams with winning records the last two years has been less than ideal. The team won just five wins against teams with winning records last year and this year they have just one, the fewest in the Eastern Conference. This is quietly the biggest problem facing the Magic. They are good enough at full strength to feat on the league’s worst and not able to solve the problem of the better teams consistently (or at all).

The Utah Jazz, to say the least, are not among the league’s worst. They have been the best team in the league, tearing through the league with a devastating offensive attack that gets everyone involved and tons of 3-point shooting. Teams have to have great ball containment and stick with 3-point shooters to have a chance. Utah is 16-3 against teams with records worse than .500 and they will not be happy after taking such a loss in Miami last night.

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3 Keys To Watch

Big Man Battle

All eyes for the Orlando Magic will be on how Nikola Vucevic attacks Rudy Gobert. Gobert is a favorite once again to win Defensively Player of the Year and he has seemingly taken his game up another level. So far this season, Gobert leads the league with 2.3 defensive win shares and he controls the glass with 13.3 rebounds per game and 2.7 blocks per game. Teams cannot attack the paint much with Gobert in.

Vucevic will have his work cut out for him then. He tends to hang on the perimeter anyway but the Magic might go away from the post-ups that are such a healthy diet of the Magic’s offense or even be able to run things through Vucevic as a screener or high-post option. The last two years, Vucevic has struggled against the Jazz specifically, averaging 17.3 points per game and 12.8 rebounds per game while shooting 40.0-percent from the floor the last two seasons.

Broken Lineup

The Orlando Magic started Thursday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets well, taking a 10-point lead before settling for a four-point lead entering the second quarter. But the Nets built the momentum for their 41-point quarter late in the first after the Magic broke their starting lineup. This team is relying heavily on Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Rosss and Evan Fournier for offense and it is most evident when the bench takes over in the second quarter.

During the last 10 games, the Magic are averaging 36.2 points per game but 18.5 of that belongs to Ross. In the second quarter, the Magic are posting a net rating of +5.2 points per 100 possessions in the last 10 games. That would suggest Thursday’s game was an anomaly. But Steve Clifford said he is still tinkering with rotations. He is adding Mohamed Bamba into that second group now and there are going to be hiccups. The Utah Jazz will not be sympathetic. They are posting a +13.6 net rating in the second quarter in their last 10 games.

3-Point Defense

The revolutionary part of the Utah Jazz’s offense is how they are shooting 3-pointers and getting up a ton of them. Utah is averaging a league-high 42.7 3-point attempts per game and they make 39.6-percent of them, the third-best in the league. Why did the Miami Heat beat the Utah Jazz on Friday night? The Jazz made just 15 of 46 3-pointers (32.6-percent). Even with that, it was a close game down the stretch.

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The Orlando Magic’s three-point defense has been a bit difficult to peg. The Magic have had moments where they play really well and then notable games where teams are able to fire from deep successfully. For the season, the Magic are giving up 36.9-percent shooting from deep, 15th in the league, on 36.0 attempts per game, 22nd in the league. That would suggest there is a bit of 3-point luck involved. The Magic better hope for some against the Jazz.