Sneak Preview: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic | Magic Basketball

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Nov 10

Sneak Preview: Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “After the Utah Jazz scored 56 points in the paint in edging the Heat in OT Tuesday night, I would guess Stan Van Gundy will fill out his lineup with either Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson at power forward and use Marcin Gortat in a Twin Towers-combo with Dwight Howard more tonight. With the Jazz exploiting Miami’s biggest weakness — inside the paint — the Magic are likely braced for more of the same. Even with Howard down on the block. Howard can handle Al Jefferson, who has been starting at center even though he’s undersized. He had a miserable night offensively, missing six of shots against Miami, but Paul Millsap’s career night made up for it.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic must feel a bit like Samson after a haircut. The team temporarily has lost one of its greatest strengths. Last April, the Magic set an NBA record for 3-pointers made in a single season. But these last two weeks, the team has struggled to hit shots from beyond the arc. […] The Magic have made just 32.3 percent of their 3-point attempts so far. Although players and coaches believe that’s a statistical aberration, it’s still a stunningly low figure for a team that depends so greatly on its long-distance shooting. Before Tuesday’s games, 22 teams had posted a higher 3-point percentage than Orlando. Another coach might see that as reason for concern, but Stan Van Gundy sees reason for hope. On Tuesday, Van Gundy gathered his players together and told them that they have compiled a 5-1 record because they’ve played strong defense and rebounded well. The Magic entered the day ranked third in field-goal percentage defense and third in rebounds per game. The last thing Van Gundy wants to do is harp too much on the team’s subpar perimeter shooting. He believes that one of the worst things a coach can do with a slumping shooter is get into his head. Perimeter players will continue to have the green light to take open 3s.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Six games into the season, the Orlando Magic appear to be rolling along with the top winning percentage in the Eastern Conference and the third-greatest margin of victory in five wins. But almost to a man, the Magic (5-1) feel that they have yet to play their best game or hit their full stride because a big weapon in their offensive arsenal has been mostly missing. A season after hitting a NBA record 841 3-pointers, the Magic have mostly missed the mark thus far from behind the 3-point stripe. Whereas the Magic made 10.25 3-pointers a game last season while shooting 37.5 percent, this season they are making just 8.66 a game while shooting only 32.3 percent from behind the stripe. That percentage ranks the Magic 24th in the NBA. It’s a credit to the Magic’s defensive grit and the MVP-caliber play of Dwight Howard inside that they have been able to mostly weather the shooting woes and still win five times in six games. Such was the case again Monday night when Orlando missed on 18 of 22 tries from 3-point range, but was still able to whip Southeast Division rival Atlanta, 93-89. With a team stocked full of good 3-point shooters around Howard, history says the Magic will eventually snap out of their funk. They hope that night comes on Wednesday when they host the Utah Jazz at the Amway Center.”
  • Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: “He would not be defeated. And no matter what, he would not go down. For every blow the Jazz took, forward Paul Millsap fired back. By the time Millsap’s flurry was over, he had a career-high 46 points, and the Jazz had pulled out an improbable 116-114 overtime victory over the NBA superpower otherwise known as the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. Asked to describe a win that saw the Jazz rally from a 19-point halftime deficit — Millsap drilled three 3-point shots in 27.2 seconds in the final minute of the fourth quarter — the longtime backup and workaholic long overshadowed by Carlos Boozer first said he was speechless. Then the humble, quiet starting power forward who has suddenly emerged as the team’s premier offensive option in the paint and on the perimeter beamed. Millsap had never scored 46 points in his entire life. Not in youth ball, not in high school, not in college and definitely not in the pros. Top off the outing with the fact that Millsap sent the game into overtime with a tip-in as time expired in regulation, and it was a night that the small-college player who once had to prove that he even belonged in the NBA will never forget.”
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