Evan Fournier’s 24-point night leads Magic past Jazz 96-89 in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Magic hope they can start playing in Orlando the way they finished in Mexico City.
Evan Fournier scored 24 points, Terrence Ross came off the bench to add 10 of his 19 in Orlando’s 41-point fourth quarter, and the Magic rallied for a 96-89 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday to sweep their two-game homestand in Mexico City.
“We knew it was going to be tough. Utah does not play a high-scoring game but we were able to have a good finish,” Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic said. “It was not a pretty game. We struggled offensively but we stuck with it and guys made big plays in the fourth to get a good win.”
Ross shot 8 of 9 from the field and Vucevic added 15 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for the Magic (13-15), who beat the Chicago Bulls 97-91 on Thursday.
Orlando won despite 22 turnovers, 15 in the first half, and is in second place in the Southeast Division behind the Charlotte Hornets.
“Our defense was great in both games in Mexico, we executed the game plan both times,” added Vucevic. “Sometimes you are not going to score a lot but when you play good defense, you are going to have a chance”.
The Magic arrived in Mexico riding a three-game losing streak.
“This can give us a big boost. It was a terrific win for us because the way we fought,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “We need to start playing better in Orlando. We played two good games here, now we need to start playing better in front of our fans.”
“We defended pretty good for most of the game, but then Ross got hot and he made some terrific shots. In each possession we could have done a little bit better to make it harder for them,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “They made the plays when they need it in fourth. Overall it was great experience, I wish we could have played better in Mexico City.”
The game was the NBA’s 28th played in Mexico. Only the United States and Canada have hosted more.
Nine of the last 26 games in Mexico have been regular-season contests.
The first-half was lackadaisical as both teams struggled. Orlando committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter but trailed only 35-33 at halftime because the Jazz shot 29 percent from the field.
Fournier led all scorers after two quarters with 14 points, 10 of those through a first quarter that finished tied 14-14.
In the third, the Jazz pull ahead 46-36 with a three-point play from Favors, but the Magic rallied and took a 51-50 lead with a 3-pointer from Aaron Gordon with 2:20 left to play in a period that finished 56-53 for the Jazz after a 3-pointer from Jae Crowder.
Ross scored seven straight points in the fourth as the Magic surged ahead.
Jazz: The matchup was the third game Utah has played in the NBA’s Global Games during the regular season, previously playing the Phoenix Suns twice in Tokyo to open the 1990-91 season.
Magic: The game was the third for Orlando playing in Mexico, following games against Charlotte in 2012 and the two this week. … Orlando has made at least one 3-pointer in 931 consecutive games, dating to March 17, 2007. It stands as the fifth-longest active streak in the NBA. … Ross scored in double figures for the 22nd time this season.
Jazz: Will play at Houston on Monday.
Magic: Will host San Antonio on Wednesday.
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