1. Trey Burke gets the credit for the game winner, but Gordon Hayward was the one who won the game for the Jazz.
Trying to get themselves out of a 3 point deficit while being out of timeouts with 20 seconds left, the Jazz had to work quickly. According to Gordon Hayward, the plan in that situation is simply to get the ball down the floor as quickly as possible, trying to create penetration for the ballhandler and begin forcing defensive rotations. It worked three times for Gordon Hayward. First, he was fouled1 running down the floor, leading to two free throws. Hayward sunk both. After Arron Afflalo made his two FTs, Hayward again ran the ball down the floor, using a high pick and roll to draw defenders, then passing to the screener Favors for an easy layup. Once more, Afflalo went to the line, but this time he made just one of his FTs. Again, Hayward went down the floor quickly, drawing defenders on a drive to the basket, this time finding Trey Burke for a corner three with just 1.6 seconds left. Impressive repeated execution by Hayward when even one failure would have cost Utah the game.
For his part, Trey Burke’s three was made tough by the quick closeout of Victor Oladipo. Oladipo, who has good size and athleticism, made Burke get more arc on the shot than normal, but it still went in for three points. Burke credited working with Johnnie Bryant in practice on being able to hit shots with arc like his game winner. Generally, in practice, he said it was Lucas or Diante Garrett flying at him for on the closeout. Perhaps Burke’s experience with Garrett’s 6’4” size coming at him in practice helped tonight when the 6’4” Oladipo closed out.
2. But is the win a good thing?
For fans of a team that’s at the bottom of the Western Conference, this becomes the difficult question to answer. Let’s break down the pros and cons:
So… was a win worth it? You decide.
3. The Jazz is a better team than the Magic are.
That sentence above uses each team’s preferred grammatical plurality. That is to say, the Jazz’s PR department says that the Jazz are correctly referred to as a singular entity, while the Magic believe themselves to be a plural collection of players2. There’s some evidence for both sides’ opinion (see this article, for example), but ultimately it seems as if most media entities have agreed to go with referring to the Jazz in the plural. This means some out-of-place looking statements from the official Jazz accounts when using the singular. That being said, the singular/plural debate is apparently one of intense debate inside Jazz offices.
Salt City Hoops has chosen to align with other media sources, referring to the Jazz in the plural. This is largely because it seems more natural to me, and I would be terrible at editing it in the opposite direction.