Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic pull off marquee win over Utah Jazz

Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton made several clutch plays to give the Orlando Magic a win over the Utah Jazz. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton made several clutch plays to give the Orlando Magic a win over the Utah Jazz. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

38. Final. 100. 118. 107

The Orlando Magic made “bell plays” their rallying cry throughout training camp.

They were going to be the team diving on the ground for loose balls and making all the hustle plays that young teams are trained to do to make up their gaps in talent. What this really is for this young Magic team is a way to show the team the kind of work it will take to win big games. The best teams do these as second nature, it is not a gimmick.

All the team needed was a reason to believe. A reason to see this mentality in action. To see this all work.

In two plays, the Magic rang the bell as loudly as they could. In one game, that bell must be creating some Liberty Bell-sized cracks. When this team is playing with this energy and moving the ball, they are downright fun. And able to take down anyone.

That is what a 107-100 win over the Utah Jazz signaled. A shot across the bough to the league that Orlando is capable of picking anyone off.

The Orlando Magic scored a marquee win, downing the Utah Jazz behind a combination of grit and hustle.

The Magic were in a battle with the Jazz. They had let an early 15-point lead slip and fell behind by as much as 13. They trailed by 10 entering the fourth quarter. It would take grit and determination to get back.

Cole Anthony was the spark throughout much of the game. So too was R.J. Hampton with a spectacular fourth quarter. Orlando made shots down the stretch, matching Utah step for step.

But it was two plays in particular that stood out for what the Magic want to be.

With the Magic trailing the Jazz by two with 4.5 minutes left, Franz Wagner knocked the ball away from Donovan Mitchell at the top of the key. R.J. Hampton immediately dove on the floor and fed it to Wendell Carter who funneled it ahead to Cole Anthony for a one-handed jam and a tie game. Anthony would continue hitting big shots, including the go-ahead basket over Rudy Gobert.

The game got put away though on another opportunistic hustle play.

With less than 30 seconds left, Anthony lost the ball and struggled to track it down. Gary Harris got to it first and retained possession. He dished it back to Hampton behind, who had relocated to an open spot in the defense and let a 3-pointer fly.

That gave Orlando a five-point lead and the game.

That is how you finish a game. With timely shot-making, a bit of gumption and a ton of hustle.

Orlando, as it has in its other two wins, displayed incredible amounts of grit, confidence and shot-making to get the job done.

Indeed, the culture the team is trying to set is there. And Orlando is doing a lot of the right things.

This was a marquee win and a necessary won to show that the process is working.

Player Grades

Cole Anthony – A+

What isn’t Cole Anthony doing right now? In what ways is Anthony not representing who this team wants to be? How is he not the beating heart of the team?

All the numbers support the kind of strong season Anthony is having. But this sure looks like something else. Anthony is always full of confidence. The Magic knew that when they drafted him. But his efficiency and his shot-making are just completely unforeseen.

Anthony scored 33 points on 13-for-22 shooting and 5-for-10 shooting from deep. Anthony got into his bag and it was clear he was feeling it. That rhythm is tough to break against him. He is playing with incredible patience and bounce too. He is just overflowing with confidence at the moment.

Wendell Carter – A

Wendell Carter is still unlocking a lot of his game and a lot of his role. Carter has been the one often speaking after tough losses putting the blame on himself for not setting a good tone for the team or leading by example. He puts the onus on himself to do better.

His game Friday against the San Antonio Spurs was disappointing — including a frustrating 1-for-10 performance in the first quarter. Carter will probably be among the first to admit he has to be more consistent with his energy.

But his game is expanding. The 3-point shot has helped a lot with that offensively. But he is doing a whole lot more. Carter scored 22 points to go with 15 rebounds and six assists. He hit a career-high four 3-pointers.

Wendell Carter was moving the ball really well, doing a good job working the high post to find cutters and pull Rudy Gobert from the basket. But he was just playing with a ton of energy and intensity. He was perfect for the Magic.

R.J. Hampton – A-

R.J. Hampton still can move a bit faster than he should. Control is the biggest thing. As is his shot selection, especially going to the basket. Hampton can make things more complicated than they need to be sometimes. That will always be an issue for him.

But Hampton is finding his place and his role. Surprisingly, it is on the defensive end.

Hampton has become a significantly better defender. He is getting a lot better at being a pest and using his size to give guards issues. His defense has made him immensely valuable and he is as willing as anyone to get on the floor and make those bell plays.

He added his scoring contribution to this one too with eight points off the bench. And thanks to some defensive energy, he made some tough shots that showed his continued potential.

Gary Harris – B+

It has been a rough season for Gary Harris. There is no getting around it. Whatever benefits the Orlando Magic think they can get from Harris, it has been hard to see it. Even if a lot of it is there.

Harris though found some life and played some great defense in addition to getting the ball to go into the basket. He scored eight points on 4-for-7 shooting. That may not seem like much, but it is enough from him to make him a threat and give him some defensive confidence.

Utah Jazz – C

The Utah Jazz were on the second night of a back-to-back against a team expected to be at the bottom of the standing and it showed. The Jazz nearly got run out of the gym to start the game and the ball just did not move. Orlando was constantly on the attack.

Utah is good enough to coast through a game against a team like Orlando and still have a chance to win. Donovan Mitchell took over in the second quarter to help Utah take the lead. And the Jazz were still able to hang around.

But they could not get the shots to fall when they absolutely needed them. Utah made only 8 of 42 3-pointers. It will be hard to win with those numbers.

Orlando Magic missing the light of Terrence Ross. dark. Next

The Magic improve to 3-8 and picked up their first home win of the season. The Orlando Magic are back in action Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.