It was a strong start and an even better finish for the Orlando Magic on Sunday, as they upset the Utah Jazz, 107-100.
Cole Anthony helped erase a 10-point fourth quarter deficit, capping a 9-0 Orlando run with a steal and emphatic one-handed dunk to give the Magic a 92-91 lead with 5:32 remaining.
The two teams traded baskets, with R.J. Hampton knocking down clutch shots to even the score. Anthony then hit consecutive pull-up jumpers to put the Magic ahead 102-98 with 54.3 seconds left.
Hampton sealed the win when he drained a three as the shot clock was expiring to increase the lead to 105-100 with 21.5 seconds remaining.
Anthony finished with 33 points on 13-for-20 shooting, including 5 of 10 from three as the Magic improved to 3-8 and dropped the Jazz to 7-3.
Wendell Carter Jr. had what was perhaps his best all-around game in a Magic uniform, tallying 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists while shooting 4-for-7 from deep.
It was Carter Jr. and his long range shooting that helped the Magic get off to a quick start. He hit a pair of threes and scored eight straight for the Magic over a 67 second span in the first quarter to open a 15-8 lead. The Orlando lead increased to 22-11 following a three by Mo Bamba with 5:44 left in the quarter.
Bamba did a little of everything in the first quarter, at one point stripping the ball on the defensive end and then faking out Rudy Gobert and hitting a baby hook. Bamba had five points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks in the first to help the Magic take a 28-15 lead through one.
The Magic shot 54.5 percent in the opening quarter, hitting 4 of 10 attempts from deep. The Jazz went just 1-for-14 from three and shot only 28 percent in the opening quarter. It was the fewest points allowed in a quarter by the Magic this season.
The highlight of the second quarter was Franz Wagner challenging Gobert, beating him off the dribble with a double crossover and converting the left-handed runner off the glass...
The Magic lead reached 15 before the Jazz began to chip away. After Carter Jr.’s third triple of the half put the Magic back up by double digits at 43-33, the Jazz went on an 11-2 run to pull within 45-44 with 2:14 left in the half. Utah closed on a 7-0 run to outscore the Magic 37-22 in the quarter and take a 52-50 lead into the break.
The Magic outshot the Jazz in the third, but fell behind thanks in part to six turnovers in the quarter and Utah’s advantage at the line. Anthony had 14 points in the quarter, making four of six attempts from deep to help keep the Magic close. But an 11-0 Jazz run late in the third helped send Utah into the fourth with an 85-75 lead.
The Magic would outscore the Jazz 32-15 in the fourth to defeat the team that last season posted the best record in the league. Orlando shot 49.4 percent in the win. Utah was plus-15 on the Magic at the free throw line but went just 8-for-42 from three (19 percent) in the loss.
The Magic now face another of the league’s toughest tests on Wednesday when the Brooklyn Nets come to town.