The Orlando Magic started their four-game home stand on a rough note. Playing against a lowly Utah Jazz team, the Magic were basically outplayed in almost every facet of the game until the last few minutes. The Magic were within six with 5:28 left to play. However, head coach Jacque Vaughn made a grave mistake, taking out Elfrid Payton when the team needed him most, effectively costing the Magic a game they really had no business winning.
The Magic started the first quarter very lethargic and off kilter. The ball wasn’t moving, the offense wasn’t clicking, and the defense was sub-par. Derrick Favors got whatever shot he wanted, whether it was at the basket, or on the elbow. The Jazz as a team shot a blistering 14-of-20 in the first quarter. However, the Magic did begin to turn things around in the second. Playing with more energy, the Magic tightened up their defense and forced the Jazz into committing seven turnovers. But the Magic’s charge fell short and the Jazz played well enough to hold on to a comfortable lead heading into half time.
Old habits die hard, as the Magic’s third-quarter struggles continued to plague the team. The defense regressed, as Favors dominated, leading the way as the Jazz outscore the Magic 32 to 23 in the third. Despite their struggles, the Magic still managed to stay within striking distance thanks to timely threes by Evan Fournier.
Entering the final period, the game seemed all but lost until Elfrid Payton breathed life back into the team. On his way to his first career double-double, Payton was able to get the Magic within six of the Jazz. However, coach Vaughn took an untimely timeout to rest the surging rookie, leaving Orlando lacking the necessary energy and sense of urgency to take the game from the clutches of the Utah Jazz.
Derrick Favors led the way for the Utah Jazz with 23 points and 10 rebounds. After a quiet first half, Gordon Hayward finished the night strong with 20 points and six assists. Enes Kanter and Trey Burke both finished with 11 points each.
Tobias Harris led all scorers with a game-high 24 points. Evan Fournier put up 21 points while hitting 4-of-6 from deep. Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Elfrid Payton notched his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.