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Instant analysis: Utah Jazz bounce back for win over Orlando Magic

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) scores in front of Orlando Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu (2) in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game, Saturday Feb. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.
Joe Skipper, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz bounced back from their Friday night loss in Miami with a 124-109 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

High notes

  • The Jazz were without Mike Conley (just precautionary management for his hamstring on back-to-back games), they didn’t look like they had their legs under them, missed quite a few free throws, didn’t have an outstanding shooting night and they were still able to get it done pretty easily against the Magic. The Jazz are just flat out a good team. The bottom teams in the league are going to have to have a great outing to shake the Jazz and that’s a great position to be in.

“You know we just go into it and try not to use [being tired] as an excuse. I think if you start talking about it and thinking about it then you automatically are going to come out a bit slower and a step behind, so we did that but we were able to overcome it.” — Joe Ingles

  • There’s no doubt that Nikola Vucevic is a great basketball player. He’s an All-Star and he’s consistently impressive. As a pick-and-pop big with great footwork he’s a tough guy to guard. He finished with a game-high 34 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists.
  • Rudy Gobert’s speed is really underrated and an under-appreciated part of the Jazz’s transition game. The fact that he can out run Vucevic on the break for a score, and regularly sprints down is a huge reason why the Jazz get open looks in transition.
  • Joe Ingles knew that him and Gobert would have a pick-and-roll advantage against Vucevic. As much of an offensive threat as Vucevic is, he’s not much of a defensive threat and the Jazz exploited that exactly as they should have.
  • Donovan Mitchell’s third-quarter explosion — 15 of his 31 points — was as impressive as it was needed to give the Jazz the room they needed to breathe through the end of the game.

“I thought this was one of Donovan’s best games of the year. I don’t know where he was at half, [six points] or something like that, he wasn’t shooting the ball great. But he kept playing efficiently. As the game progressed his stuff opened up and he really picked his spots.” —Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • Royce O’Neale’s offensive rebounding and tap-outs are beautiful. I love that part of his game.

Low notes

  • The Jazz showed some pretty bad passing in the first quarter, leading to turnovers. That, along with quite a few missed shots, just scream second night of a back-to-back.
  • Official Bill Kennedy looked like he pulled a hamstring or something like that late in the second quarter and had to leave the game. Kennedy is an incredibly respected official. You never want to see anyone get injured on the court and that extends to the officials as well.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and O’Neale all had a rough night from beyond the arc. Not something that’s worrying, again on the second night of a back-to-back, but not something that was good.

Flat notes

  • Chema Okeke’s screens are horrible. You can’t expect to get open shots and to help your team if you aren’t going to put some effort in on that action. Listen, there are a lot of times that you can get away with lazy screens and illegal screens and it’s not something that I would usually call out, but this guy didn’t even look like he was trying to set a screen. I detest lack of effort.
  • Poor Orlando. Down by four points at the half after really playing probably as good as they can, and then getting blown out at home. I feel bad for the bad teams in the league and especially feel bad because they’ve had injuries to their developing players that are going to set back the building they are trying to do. Meanwhile, Vucevic’s best years are just flying by.

“We’re not very close at all. They’re the best team in the NBA and we’re not exactly there. ... We can’t look at teams like the Jazz and try to be at their level. For us, we just have to improve step by step.” — Nikola Vucevic on how far the Orlando Magic are from being a top team