Playing in the penultimate game on their six-game West Coast road trip, the Orlando Magic stopped in Utah to take on Gordan Hayward and the Utah Jazz. The Magic worked hard and found a way to grind out the win late, beating the Jazz 98-93.
After being ejected on Wednesday night for a flagrant two foul on Loa Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Kyle O`Quinn returned to the Magic lineup and in a big way. O'Quinn got the ball rolling for the Magic, knocking down 4-of-5 shots from the field, and both of his free throw attempts en route to 10 opening quarter points. Orlando looked good on the offensive end, getting high percentage shots on many of their possessions, while forcing the Jazz into some tough attempts. Derrick Favors led the way for the Jazz, scoring six points, grabbing two rebounds and blocking one shot in the game's opening 12 minutes.
The second quarter turned into the Victor Oladipo show. Oladipo, who struggled on Wednesday night against the Clippers, found his groove on the offensive end, scoring 11 of his 13 in the quarter, while shooting 5-of-6 from the field. Orlando's offense was a whole was strong, shooting a blistering 58.3 percent in the opening half, including 4-of-7 from three. Oladipo's 13 led all scorers, with Favors and front court mate Enes Kanter led the way for the Jazz with 10 at the half.
There's something about the Magic and the third quarter. I can't put my finger on what happens that takes the energy out of the bubble at halftime. Anyway, they struggled in the third quarter, once again. Their offense lacked the punch it had in the first half, and the defense had a few moments where it was broken down easily. Despite their struggles, they continued to lead, carrying a seven point lead, 71-64 into the fourth quarter. Oladipo continued to lead the Magic with 15, while Favors jumped back ahead of Kanter, posting 15 of his own through three.
With a chance to possibly sniff .500 on the road trip on the line, the Magic dug deep, and found their excellent flow on the offensive end. Dribble penetration from both Oladipo and Elfrid Payton opened up open shots for Tobias Harris and Channing Frye. The Magic were able to get enough stops, and make enough shots to hold on for the hard fought victory.
A group of five Magic players paced the team against their Western Conference foe. Harris, who struggled with his shot for much of the night, led all players with 22 points, 11 of which game in the final 12 minutes. Oladipo, who looked poised running the offense, had another strong game, scoring 20 points and dishing out six assists. O'Quinn cooled off some after his hot start, finishing with 13 on the night. Ben Gordon gave the team a spark off the bench, scoring an efficient 12 points. Frye rounded out the Magic men in double figures, knocking down a trio of three's en route to 11 points.
Four of five Jazz starters finished in double figures, led by Favors who finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Kanter finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while rookie sharpshooter Rodney Hood knocked down three three's en route to a career high 15. Trey Burke's hot play against the Magic cooled, as he finished with 13 points and 11 assists on the night.