The Orlando Magic take the Amway Center court for the second game of a three-game homestand this evening against the Utah Jazz, who pulled off an improbable victory over the Miami Heat just last night. Paul Millsap, who entered the game as a 2-of-20 lifetime shooter from beyond the arc, drained three three-pointers in the final minute of regulation, capitalizing on the Heat's missed free throws. He also tipped in the tying basket at the horn, forcing overtime. It's safe to say Utah is rolling after its big win.
The Magic's foremost concern is limiting the Jazz's offense. Partially due to newcomer Al Jefferson's lack of familiarity with coach Jerry Sloan's flex system, Utah's been about average on that end of the court this season, though you wouldn't know it after watching last night's game. Point guard Deron Williams has the speed, quickness, and decisiveness requisite to execute nearly any system to perfection; it's incumbent on the Magic to keep Williams outside the paint and to keep the Jazz off their own backboard. Millsap and Jefferson can eat teams alive with putback buckets.
Orlando got welcome news this afternoon when it learned Jameer Nelson is over his left-ankle sprain and will return to their starting lineup.
I'd expect the Magic to establish Dwight Howard early against Jefferson, who's not terribly quick despite his age (25). Kyrylo Fesenko and Francisco Elson, Utah's backup centers, have even less mobility.
It's a cliche, but Sloan's teams fight hard and make runs, even when trailing big. Raja Bell and Williams really compete, so Orlando can't let its guard down. It must play the game, not the scoreboard.
Tipoff's at 7 Eastern on Sun Sports or, if you prefer national coverage, ESPN.
|2010/2011 NBA Season
|4-3 (2-2 road)
|5-1 (4-0 home)
|November 10th, 2010
|Sun Sports / ESPN
|2010/11 Advanced Stats