The Utah Jazz split a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents and head back home one game under .500 but not discouraged. The Jazz will begin a stretch with eight of nine at home by hosting the slumping Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Utah hung with the Milwaukee Bucks through three quarters on Monday but was outscored 31-16 in the final period to suffer a 114-102 setback. "Us missing shots and them continually hitting shots - after a while, mentally, it gets to you," Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell told reporters. "Decisions - especially myself down the stretch - decisions start to falter and waver. But I was really impressed with the way we all competed. At the end of the day, this is a loss, but this is a good sign." The Magic are finally at the end of a six-game road trip and dropped to 1-4 on the excursion with a 111-95 loss at Sacramento on Monday, marking the third straight game in which they fell by double digits. "Things aren't going to get any easier, so we either fight through it or we let this thing hit us even harder and our season will be over," Orlando shooting guard Evan Fournier told reporters. "We have two options right now."
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FS Florida (Orlando), AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah) LINE: Jazz -9
ABOUT THE MAGIC (17-23): Orlando surrendered 27 points off 16 turnovers and was outscored 64-24 in the paint against the Kings on Monday. "We talked about these things and we didn't defend the way that we needed to," center Nikola Vucevic told reporters. "We talked about turnovers and we turned the ball over and they got anything that they wanted in the paint. We just weren't playing the way we talked about. That's frustrating when we're in the position that we're in - we had lost two in a row, and now a third one and we're five games under .500. We should be better and do better." Vucevic collected 18 points and 13 rebounds in the loss but power forward Aaron Gordon struggled to 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (20-21): Utah point guard Ricky Rubio left Monday's loss in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and the team is already without backup Dante Exum (ankle) for a couple of weeks, leaving third-stringer Raul Neto to lead the offense. "He's got a big heart and he's a good player," Jazz coach Quin Snyder told reporters of Neto. "We have confidence in the guys that we have. The guys who are able to go have to go. We'll see where we are. We believe in Raul Neto. Donovan's played some point before, and (small forward) Joe (Ingles) has, too." Neto finished with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes off the bench in Monday's setback.
1. Ingles is 3-of-19 from 3-point range over the last five games.
2. Magic PF Jonathan Isaac totaled four points on 2-of-13 shooting over the last two contests.
3. Orlando snapped a four-game losing streak in the series with a 96-89 home win on Dec. 15.
PREDICTION: Jazz 108, Magic 99 Bet Now
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