Wednesday, December 18, 2013
"We are starting to get our chemistry back. Our spacing is a lot better and we are improving every game."
- Trey Burke
Trey Burke's 30 leads Jazz past Magic, 86-82
ORLANDO (AP) - Trey Burke's last trip to Orlando was a forgettable one. He struggled through several summer league games just weeks after being selected with the No. 9 pick in the NBA draft.
This visit was a more successful experience.
Burke had a career-high 30 points and eight assists, Gordon Hayward added 15 points and the Utah Jazz held off the Orlando Magic 86-82 on Wednesday night.
Orlando had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Jameer Nelson's layup rolled off the rim and was rebounded by Utah with just 3 seconds left. Hayward then hit a pair of free throws.
The Jazz snapped a two-game losing streak and extended their win streak over the Magic to six games. Burke, who was passed over by the Magic when they grabbed Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 pick, said he wasn't trying to make any statement.
"That wasn't my main goal, but I definitely wanted to come out and be really aggressive today," Burke said. "For me, I'm trying to do whatever it takes for the team to win. I saw early on that my shot was falling, that I could get in the paint and get some good looks so I just tried to stay aggressive."
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he thinks his young team took a big step forward after some rough outings.
"I think the experience for this young group of guys goes a long way, to teach them how to finish games and how to stay in there," he said. "Even when we lost our lead there, they came in that fourth quarter and made some big plays for us."
The Magic lost for the sixth time in seven home games. They continue their season-long six-game homestand Saturday against Sacramento.
Nelson led Orlando with 17 points. Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 14 rebounds and Tobias Harris finished with 14 points and 10 boards, a season high after he returned recently from an ankle injury.
Burke (Michigan) and Oladipo (Indiana) were college rivals, with each getting the better of the other at times.
This one went to Burke.
Orlando played without leading scorer Arron Afflalo, who was scratched with an illness. Afflalo, who is averaging a career-high 21.6 points, had started every game this season.
With Harris starting in his place, the Magic showed for a while that they are more than a just one-man team. They just couldn't figure out a way to slow down Burke.
Oladipo guarded Burke on a few possessions, but was off offensively. He had three points on 1-for-12 shooting.
"He was just comfortable out there," Oladipo said of Burke. "When he's comfortable, he's very effective."
Orlando trailed by six heading into the fourth quarter, but rallied to a 76-69 lead with just under eight minutes to play. But Utah responded with a 9-0 spurt to retake the momentum.
The Magic tied it again, but never regained the lead the rest of the way.
Harris was 10 for 31 in four games coming into the day. He finished a modest 5 for 14 from the field against the Jazz. But he was a lot more active that he had been in his previous three games.
He got involved on the offensive end early on against the Jazz and seemed a lot more comfortable, scoring six in the first quarter.
Harris then faltered down the stretch, like so many of his teammates.
"There were maybe one or two shots in the first half that we talked about, we thought were forced a little bit," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "But besides that, I looked down and they had good shots throughout the course of the night. I don't think our guys were selfish at all."
For Utah, Burke said he hopes its effort will be something the Jazz can build on as they continue their five-game road trip.
"That shows where this team can be in the future. We have a lot of options," Burke said. "Pretty much everybody out there can put the ball in the basket, and once we're playing together, that's when we're best with it."
NOTES: Burke has scored at least 20 points in four games this season. ... The Jazz have now had three 30-point scorers in their last four games.