Magic Musings: Sans Afflalo, Orlando struggles vs. Jazz
ORLANDO, Fla. — With leading scorer Arron Afflalo fighting the flu and not even in the Amway Center, the Orlando Magic labored to accomplish much on offense against one of the NBA’s lesser lights.
The Utah Jazz, owners of the worst record in the Western Conference, led most of the way and held on down the stretch to hand the Magic an 86-82 defeat.
While Jameer Nelson had a team-high 17 points, he missed a driving layup high off the glass that could have tied the score with 3.3 seconds to go. Gordon Hayward made two free throws after that to clinch only the seventh victory of the season for the Jazz.
Victor Oladipo had the worst shooting game of his young career, missing all but one of his 12 shots in 35 minutes.
Afflalo is 10th in the NBA in scoring this season with a 21.6-point average. He was only player to start all of the first 25 games for the Magic, who were opening their longest homestand of the season.
Tobias Harris made his first start of the season in his fourth game back from a sprained left ankle which sidelined him for 21 of their first 22 games. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds through three quarters but wound up finishing with those totals.
The Magic went scoreless for more than 4 1/2 minutes toward the end of the second quarter. Not until Nelson made two free throws with 3.6 seconds to go did the drought finally end.
One of their few bright spots was a 14-1 run highlighted by two 3-point field goals by E’Twaun Moore. The run came with a lineup consisting of Nelson and four non-starters — Moore, Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn.
The turning point
The Jazz answered the Magic’s spurt to begin the fourth quarter with nine straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Marvin Williams, to take a 78-76 lead. They never trailed the rest of the way.
The difference maker
Rookie Trey Burke, the ninth overall pick in the most recent draft, established a career high with 30 points for the Jazz. His previous high was 21, and he surpassed that before the end of the third quarter.
Stat of the game
The Magic shot only 32.6 percent from the floor against the Jazz, who were ranked last in field-goal defense (47.5 percent).
Saturday night vs. Sacramento, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).