Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
The shorthanded Orlando Magic went into Utah Saturday night to play a Utah Jazz team that was desperate for a win to take over the final playoff spot in the West. The Magic gave the Jazz all they could handle, as they led Utah by 12 points with under 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter, before fading late in the fourth quarter and overtime in the 117-107 OT loss. The Magic shot a combined 9 of 32 (28%) in the fourth quarter and the overtime, while the Jazz shot a combined 14 of 22 (64%) in that same span.
All five Magic starters scored in double figures, led by Jameer Nelson with 23 points and 11 assists. Nelson, though, did not score at all in the final quarter and the overtime while shooting 0 for 5. Jason Richardson scored 21 points, including 5 of 9 on threes, along with 7 assists. Ryan Anderson also scored 21 points, including 5 of 12 on threes, with 5 rebounds. Glen Davis added a double-double of 17 points, 13 rebounds. J.J. Redick scored 15 points. Five Utah players scored in double figures, led by center Al Jefferson with 21 points, 10 rebounds. Point guard Devin Harris also scored 21 points along with 7 assists and 0 turnovers. Power forward Paul Millsap had his usual good game with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals. Power forward/Center Derrick Favors was big off the Utah bench, with a double-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds on 8 of 11 shooting.
Three-point shooting was the key for the Magic in the game, as they connected on 15 of 38 (39.5%) attempts from beyond the arc, as they outscored Utah 45-12 on three-pointers. Utah more than made up for that though, outscoring the Magic by a combined 105-62 total on two-point field goals and free throws made. Utah outshot the Magic 53.4% to 43.8% from the field and 82.6% to 61.5% on free throws. Though the Magic did a credible job taking care of the ball with 12 turnovers, the Jazz had a fantastic 24/9 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Utah depth was also crucial to their win, as the Jazz reserves outscored the Magic reserves 39-10 on 18 of 28 (64%) shooting.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
The Magic had their largest lead of the game at 41-27 after an Anderson three-pointer two minutes into the second quarter. Orlando then had their first dry spell of the game, scoring only two points in the next 5:14 as Utah cut the Magic lead to 43-39. The Jazz eventually tied the game at 55-55 after an Alec Burks slam in the final seconds of the first half. Richardson's 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting led the Magic, while Nelson added 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting along with 6 assists, and Anderson contributed 10 points. The Jazz reserves combined for 24 first-half points.
After Anderson opened the scoring for the Magic in the third quarter with a three-pointer, the Jazz outscored the Magic 12-4 to take a 67-62 lead with 8:33 remaining in the quarter after a DeMarre Carroll layup. One may have thought that the Jazz would continue to widen their lead and put away the shorthanded Magic, but the Magic stunned the Jazz with a 16-0 run over the next 3:39, as Nelson scored 10 points and Redick 5 points in the run to help the Magic take back the lead 78-67 with just under five minutes remaining in the third. An Anderson trey gave the Magic a 81-69 lead before Utah started their comeback. They outscored the Magic 12-2 to end the third quarter to cut their deficit to 83-81 entering the fourth quarter.
Orlando was able to maintain their lead throughout most of the fourth quarter, and even increased it, leading 94-88 after an Anderson bucket with 7:52 remaining in regulation. From that point on, a fatigued, injury-depleted Magic squad was determined to hold Utah off, as it seemed like every time the Jazz would get within a basket of tying or taking the lead, the Magic would come up with a clutch basket to maintain their lead. Utah was within 95-94 when J-Rich hit a three-pointer to extend the lead back out to 98-94 with 3:47 remaining. The Jazz scored the next five points in a row and took the lead after a Favors dunk 99-98 with 1:39 remaining, but Anderson then came back to hit a three to give the Magic a 101-99 lead with 1:12 remaining. Jefferson's bucket tied the score at 101-101 with 21 seconds remaining. The Magic had the last shot of the game, but it wasn't meant to be as Nelson's three-pointer was blocked by Harris in the final seconds to send the game into OT.
Utah dominated the overtime period, as the fatigued Magic stood little chance. A three-pointer by Jazz guard Gordon Hayward with 1:38 remaining gave the Jazz an insurmountable 110-105 lead as the Jazz proceeded to put the game away 117-107, with the win enabling them to take sole possession of the eighth seed in the West, one game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. The Magic were outscored 16-6 in the overtime as the Jazz made 5 of their 8 shots, including two critical three-pointers, while the Magic could make just 2 of 8 shots in the extra session.
Despite the loss, Magic fans can be proud of their team, as they put up one heck of a battle on the road against a Utah team that desperately needed to win. The Magic showed resilience throughout the game, but unfortunately just ran out of gas towards the end.
Other game notes:
-Quentin Richardson scored 8 of the 10 points off the Magic bench, along with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks in 35 minutes.
-Three Magic starters played at least 40 minutes, with Nelson playing 39 minutes and Redick 31 minutes.
-The backup point guard slot for the Magic was split between Chris Duhon and Ish Smith, as Duhon played 9 minutes in the first half and Smith played 6 minutes in the second half. Neither scored and both had an assist.
-This was only the 4th time in 34 games in Magic franchise history that they lost a game while making at least 15 three-point field goals.