This was the last game of a 4 game west coast road trip for Orlando, and it somewhat showed with how the Magic ended and started the game slowly. Even Utah also had a tough schedule, playing their 5th game in 7 days. The lack of isolation scoring highlighted these two scheduling quirks.
Both of Collin Sexton’s first quarter makes were mismatches against Joe Ingles. His quickness was overwhelming combined with the age difference.
Jonathan Isaac airballed a 3 in the first quarter again, something not uncommon so far this year. His shooting has dropped off after his time out with injury, whereas his defense and physicals are right where they left off.
7:12 2Q Wendell pump faked a decently open shot at the rim, passes to Paolo who airballs a turnaround J
Paolo Banchero looks to have gotten his groove back. He was confident attacking a packed paint and played his game and finally countered the defensive counters he’s seen to start the year with shifty moves and overpowering defenses.
Great flash from Anthony Black in the final 3.5 minutes of the first half. He was disruptive defensively, and had a nice cut for a make.
Update from post-game: The Magic don’t win this game without AB. Defense, cutting/finishing, and strong intangibles that are contagious a la Jalen Suggs, the Magic have outstanding young insurance for when Markelle Fultz is out, like he was against Utah.
The Magic are full of intelligent cutters. Despite a lack of spacing/high-level shooting, the Magic always find holes in the defense near the rim.
Wendell Carter needs to be more aggressive in attacking the rim. He finds reasons not to shoot at the rim which leads to bad decisions. It’s nice he can stretch the floor, but his best value comes from finishing and then moving out to the rim rather than just being a stretch 5. However, the bigger issue is that with his hand injury, the Magic’s already weak center rotation takes a massive hit.
Maybe it was the road trip exhaustion, but Jalen Suggs missed multiple easy shots at the rim, both in the half-court and transition.
8:52 4Q Jonathan Isaac incredible block on Clarkson’s drive
John Collins was a dangerous off-ball weapon for Utah. He’s still an awkward fit, but like Cleveland did with his now-teammate Lauri Markkanen by playing a jumbo frontcourt, the Jazz are getting successes out of Collins when he shoots the way he did against Orlando (3-4 from 3). The Jazz have a lethal P&R, having either Collins or Markkanen roll, and the other move to the weak spot in the defense, often being the corner.
Jalen Suggs went 1-7 with multiple blown layups, and it’s safe to assume that this had to do with it being the end of a 6 day road trip more than flaws of his own.
The lineup combination of Jonathan Isaac & Anthony Black is lethal defensively. Both were extremely active, and the Jazz struggled to score against them.
Cole Anthony played well in filling in for Markelle Fultz. He’s still a lethal shooter and capable scorer, but his playmaking exploded in an expanded role: 7 assists to 3 turnovers in 31 minutes (a season high). He made his teammates better in almost every way offensively; this was an ideal game that Anthony should be trying to replicate every game of the season.
It was truly fascinating seeing how the Jazz guards struggle to create more easy looks for their bigs, primarily Lauri Markkanen. They need to add a true pass-first playmaker either in the trade deadline or next summer via draft or free agency. One candidate I have always liked the fit of: Markelle Fultz.