|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CT22:00 , January 4, 2020
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida Attendance: 16,913
Magic, Jazz prepare for defensive battle
Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic
- Utah won the first meeting this season, 109-102, on December 17. The Jazz are 6-1 against the Magic since 2016-17, holding the Magic to 91.0 points per game. The only team to average fewer points against any opponent in that time is Detroit, also against Utah (87.7).
- The Jazz beat the Bulls, 102-98, at the United Center on Thursday and have now won nine of their last 10 games. In that time since December 11 they are holding opponents to 104.5 points per game, second lowest in the league (Bulls, 102.5).
- Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Bulls, going 8-for-11 (.727) from the field. He is shooting 72.0 percent from the field since December 1, best in the NBA.
- Joe Ingles had 10 assists against the Bulls on Thursday, his 13th career game with at least 10 assists. The Jazz are 12-1 in those games.
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- Leonard wins Bryant All-Star MVP award
- Magic leads tribute for Kobe, Stern
- Jones tops Gordon in epic dunk contest
- Hield wins 3-point contest on last shot
Two of the NBA's best defenses meet in a cross-conference matchup Saturday, with the Orlando Magic -- on the second leg of a back-to-back -- hosting the Utah Jazz.
Orlando began the weekend Friday with a 105-85 rout of the team with the Eastern Conference's third-best record, the Miami Heat. The 85 points the Magic allowed marked the fewest they had given up to any opponent since holding New York to 83 on Oct. 30.
The six points to which Orlando held Miami in the fourth quarter tied a franchise record.
"We struggled a bit defensively the last month-and-a-half, and we know that [defense] kind of has to be our thing," Nikola Vucevic said to FOX Sports Florida & Sun following the win. "The last few games, we've been able to get back to that. And it shows that when we play well defensively, it opens things up for our offense with fast-break points."
Vucevic recorded his 300th career double-double in the win with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon added 16 points and eight rebounds despite being listed as questionable before the game due to an Achilles injury.
The Magic already were down 12-point-per-game scorer Jonathan Isaac, who sustained a knee sprain in a scary moment during Orlando's 122-101 win over Washington on Wednesday.
How those injuries impact the Magic's depth could shape Saturday's second half of the back-to-back, particularly against a Utah Jazz team with a defensive tenacity similar to that of Orlando.
Orlando ranks third in the NBA, holding opponents to 104.6 points per game. Utah is not far behind at 105.6 points allowed per game, seventh-best in the league.
Two-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert continues to pace Utah's excellent team defense with his rim protection, despite a dip in his blocked shots average. His current 1.9 per game are Gobert's fewest since his rookie season in 2013-14.
However, he blocked three shots apiece in each of the past two Jazz games, part of a four-game winning streak.
"When he's decisive, he just goes up there and tries to punish people on both ends and turns into the All-Star that he is," Donovan Mitchell said of Gobert to reporters following Utah's 102-98 win over Chicago on Thursday. "He's playing at a really high level right now."
In addition to his shot-blocking prowess, Gobert helps control the glass with 14.2 rebounds per game, tied for the second-best average in the league. Gobert locks down the interior, while Mitchell and his 1.1 steals per game helps set the tone on the perimeter.
Utah's defense poses a challenge for an Orlando offense that ranks last in the NBA at 103.4 points per game. When these two teams met Dec. 17 in Salt Lake City, the Jazz held the Magic to 7-of-35 shooting from behind the 3-point line in a 109-102 Utah win.
Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic each scored 30 points, while Joe Ingles went 4-of-4 from outside on a night the Jazz were 15-of-36 beyond the arc.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 4, 2020