Here come the Orlando Magic, riding a two-game road winning streak and feeling oodles of confidence.
But the Utah Jazz have an idea about how to stop them, or at least slow them down.
“We try to take them out of the game early,” said Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who’ll start tonight when Utah plays host to Orlando at EnergySolutions Arena. “The first few minutes are going to be crucial for us against a team like that. Even though they play hard, if we come out and do the things we’re supposed to do, we’ll take their confidence out.”
The Jazz (9-10) lost their first home game of the season on Monday, falling to the L.A. Clippers despite owning a 14-point lead in the first half.
Orlando (7-10) beat the Lakers on Sunday and the Warriors on Monday.
“We’re playing team basketball,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Guys are covering for each other, playing together, sacrificing for each other. It’s not ‘my man vs. your man’ it’s ‘our team vs. the other team.’ And that’s been the goal.”
Four of Orlando’s five starters are averaging double digits in scoring. Guard Arron Afflalo leads the way, averaging 16.1 points per game.
Forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis averages 15.8 points and 8.3 rebounds.
But the Jazz counter with four of their own starting five in double figures. Al Jefferson is the leader, averaging 16.7 points and 10.5 boards.
Guard Gordon Hayward comes off the bench, averaging 13.9 points per game.
Hayward used the word “solid” three different times in describing the Magic defensively.
“We talked about them just being a solid team,” he said. “They don’t necessarily gamble for a lot of things. They’re solid with their rotations, knowing where they’re supposed to be at all times. A solid defensive team.”