Preview: Orlando At Utah
When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 3, 2015
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Orlando Magic are winners of four straight games for the first time since 2012 and continue to improve. The Utah Jazz are on the upswing as well and will try to bounce back from a tight loss to the undefeated Golden State Warriors when they host the Magic on Thursday.
Orlando turned a page with the hiring of Scott Skiles as head coach over the summer and is focused on getting better every game. “We’ve got a nice thing going, but we can’t get satisfied,” Magic center Nikola Vucevic told reporters. “We’ve got to get back to work. “We haven’t achieved anything yet. We have gotten better, but this is nothing. We have to keep wanting and stay hungry.” The Jazz nearly had a three-game winning streak before running into Stephen Curry at the end of Monday’s 106-103 setback, and coach Quin Snyder is preaching a similar message. “I think you have to be consistent,” Snyder told reporters. “When we lose, we talk about getting better. When we win, we talk about getting better. You may feel a little better after a win.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Orlando), ROOT (Utah)
ABOUT THE MAGIC (10-8): Orlando built a 17-point lead in the opener of its road trip at Minnesota on Monday before hanging on for a 96-93 victory. “I feel like last year we would have lost that game,” Magic guard Victor Oladipo told reporters. “We’re growing up a lot, but we’ve just got to build on it.” Orlando is thriving at the defensive end and held its last four opponents to an average of 91.3 points with Oladipo (three blocks and two steals on Monday) leading the charge for the reserves.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (8-8): Utah owns one of the better defenses in the league, and its latest results are a reflection of that unit’s consistency. The Jazz allowed over 100 points in each of their last four losses while surrendering 96 or fewer in each of the last four wins. Utah yielded an average of 89 points in back-to-back wins before allowing the Warriors to shoot 48.8 percent from the floor and 14-of-29 from 3-point range in Monday’s loss.
1. Vucevic posted a double-double in three of the last four games.
2. Utah G/F Gordon Hayward is averaging 23 points and shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in the last five games.
3. The teams split two games last season, with the road team winning each.
PREDICTION: Jazz 93, Magic 91