The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Ziginia Live have assembled an historical event in Mexico City to forge a multi-year partnership to collaborate on NBA games to be held in the Mexican capital. This season will see two matches played, including this preview of the Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic.
The Utah Jazz are currently sitting thirteenth in the Western Conference Standings and are 3.5 games behind the Portland Trailblazers for eighth and a playoff seed. In their last ten, the Utah Jazz are 5-5 so a search for consistency is certainly on its way.
Against the Orlando Magic, the Jazz face a young and athletic team that are yet to find their niche in any specific basketball category. Look for the Jazz to challenge the young Magic teams fitness, as the altitude in Mexico City (2240 meters) will be a hindrance to both sides.
The Orlando Magic are currently sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 12-15 with just a game in hand from their Floridian rivals the Miami Heat. In their last ten the Orlando Magic have struggled, going just 3-7 to cool their hot start to the season.
The Utah Jazz are a disciplined team with good perimeter defence and possibly the NBA’s best rim protector in Rudy Gobert. Seeing as the Magic are dead average in the league in three-point shooting (35.2%), look for the Magic squad to try to get hot early in order to sustain against the Jazz’s bullish defence.
The Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic have rarely met in the regular season and have never met in the playoffs. Despite that, the Utah Jazz holds the advantage 36-22 in the all-time series against the Orlando Magic.
The Orlando Magic will want to win this match to maintain their slight hold on eighth place in the East while clawing their way back to a .500 record.
The Utah Jazz are in a tough situation in the Western Conference as being only two games under .500 has forced them to thirteenth in the West. One win would take them ahead of the T-Wolves and tied with the Pelicans for tenth in the West.
Are the Magic mature enough to succeed?
Why have the Jazz been so inconsistent?
We’re going to compare the Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic in an attempt to see who has the upper hand in this matchup.
The Magic have started the last two seasons on a heater but have regressed as the months go on. One could call it mere inconsistency, but some may see it as youthful exuberance flaming out.
Eleven of the Magic’s sixteen-man roster are players with zero to three years of experience in the NBA. Star Aaron Gordon is four years in and you can really only look at ten-year veteran DJ Augustin as a true veteran.
C Mo Bamba missed his last game due to a violation of team rules citing he, “Just needs to be on time.” Well Mo, time is ticking for this Magic team to prove their place in the East.
In the landscape of NBA efficiency, the Utah Jazz are on the wrong side of the league average. Over the past few seasons the Jazz relied on their defence to win them tough, grind it out games against the leagues best. This year that defence has slipped and they’re still trying to figure out how to bring it back.
While the rule changes to physicality have definitely affected the Jazz more than any other squad, they’ve not been effective on the offensive end either. Back to back losses to the Spurs and Thunder show the team has a lot of work to do to compete in the West again. Teams have gotten better, but the Jazz may be a move away from getting back into form.
G-F Evan Fournier was not with the team on Dec 10 due to a personal matter, but is en route to Mexico City and expected to play.
C Timofey Mozgov (knee) is out indefinitely without a timetable for his return.
The Utah Jazz have no injuries of note.
Vucevic is in a contract year and the Montenegrin center is really proving he’s not the weak link in the Orlando Magic’s plans. He is playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 18.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, while shooting 44% from three, and boasting a 59% true-shooting percentage.
Vooch, as he’s affectionately called, has had the offence run through him this season and it’s worked. Ten times the center has converted on 50% or more of his shots and is boasting a career high 4.2 assists per 36 minutes. He’s a mix of power and finesse that may just thrown C Rudy Gobert for a loop.
Gobert is a star but the officials don’t seem to treat him that way. Not to suggest stars deserve certain treatment, but they definitely receive it. As a defence-first player, Gobert has struggled at times with the limited amount of physicality left in today’s NBA.
Averaging 14.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game, Rudy Gobert is right on pace for another All-Star consideration season. Unfortunately, in the Western Conference and with the elimination of Center from the ballot, his chances are slim. Against Vucevic, Gobert will have another chance to assert his dominance at the center position in the NBA.
The odds will be updated as soon as they’re made available.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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