Becoming plagued by injuries, the Orlando Magic got set to take on the Utah Jazz, who came in battling their own set of injuries. Despite some late game struggles, the Magic were able to hang on for an overall impressive 102-93 victory.
Needing to come out strong, the Magic had their best start of the season, jumping all over the lifeless Jazz. With more space thanks to Channing Frye's insertion into the starting lineup, the Magic's guards were able to get to the rim at will, where they could either go up or toss it out to an open shooter. While there were pockets of overpassing, the team was able to make the right pass when they needed, notching eight assists on their 12 field goals. After one, the Magic were in complete control, thanks to their fluid offense and stifling defense, leading 33-15.
After one of their best quarters of the season, the Magic fell into the Jazz grips, allowing them to slow down the pace and begin to grind. After falling behind by as many as 22, Utah began chipping away at the Magic's lead, cutting it down to as few as nine late in the quarter. The Magic, who were crisp on both ends early, struggle taking care of the ball, coughing it up nine times in the quarter, resulting in eight Jazz points. A late three from Tobias Harris steadied the ship for the Magic, giving them a 52-40 lead heading into halftime.
Out of the halftime break, the Magic looked more engaged, getting after the Jazz defensively, while running their offense at a higher, smoother rate than it did in the second quarter. The ball swung around the arc, finding open shooters, while getting the Jazz's usually stout defense out of position. The Magic were able to hold off any potential Jazz run, keeping their lead in double digits for the entire quarter. Heading into the fourth up by 17, the Magic seemed poised to notch their biggest, and most impressive victory of the season.
Up big heading into the fourth, things were looking good for the Magic to lock up the victory. After pushing the lead to as many as 23, Scott Skiles emptied his bench with the team set to play in Washington on Saturday night. The bench struggled, however, allowing the Jazz to cut the lead back down to nine late, prompting Skiles to put his starters back into the game. The starters steadied the ship just enough, allowing the Magic to hold on late.
Five Magic men finished in double figures, led by Evan Fournier's game-high 21. Tobias Harris added a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double, with Elfrid Payton adding 16. In his return to the starting lineup, Nikola Vucevic scored 19 points t go with nine rebounds and five assists. Aaron Gordon rounded out the bunch, adding 10 off the bench.
Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke led the way for the Jazz, with each scoring 16. Alec Burks also finished in double figures with 11.