Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 1:21 AM
By MATTHEW COLES - Associated Press
Mitchell keys game-ending run as Jazz top Magic 109-102
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Donovan Mitchell’s dunk changed everything.
With the Jazz trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, Mitchell drove down the lane and rose up to jam the ball in traffic over Nikola Vucevic. The highlight-reel play awoke a moribund offense and energized the crowd, sparking a late spurt that sent Utah past the Orlando Magic 109-102 on Tuesday night.
“On a play like that you can’t lay it up, you’ve got to go up there and try and dunk it,” Mitchell said. “I really don’t know how it happened. I didn’t dunk in warmups. I just didn’t have any legs.”
But he found plenty of energy when Utah needed him most. Mitchell finished with 30 points, including eight as the Jazz (16-11) closed the game on a 19-5 run for their third victory in a row.
“The guys kept their focus. There was no hanging their heads,” coach Quin Snyder said. “We didn’t let those mistakes pull us apart, but they brought us together and that’s what the game at the end reflected.”
Bojan Bogdanovic scored nine of his 30 points during the decisive surge, and Joe Ingles had 16 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
Bogdanovic and Mitchell’s two-man game was unstoppable down the stretch as they became the first Jazz duo to score 30 points each in a game since Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer did it in 2008.
“When it gets to six minutes and under, Bogey doesn’t miss. To have that type of confidence … it makes our team so much better and we missed that at times last year,” Mitchell said.
Bogdanovic feels the same way.
“There’s a great, great connection between us ... especially at the end of games,” he said.
D.J. Augustin had 22 points off the bench, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and Evan Fournier added 19 for the Magic, who fell to 12-15.
“The game was there for us to take it. We just didn't make plays in the last three minutes. It (stinks) because we fought our way back," Vucevic said.
After a 3-pointer by Ingles and a free throw by Ed Davis, the Jazz led 82-65. But the Magic mounted a quick comeback against Utah’s struggling bench players.
Fournier’s basket capped a 12-0 run to get the Magic to 82-77 early in the final quarter. Orlando then overcame an eight-point deficit to lead 97-90 after a 15-0 spurt powered by Augustin’s seven points.
A game after hitting a season-high 17 3-pointers, the Magic missed their first 10 attempts from beyond the arc and ended up 7 for 35 from 3-point range as they seemed reticent to challenge Rudy Gobert inside.
“Obviously, it opens up a lot of things when you can make 3s - especially with a guy like Rudy inside. You want to split him off. But if you keep missing, he's going to stay in there," Fournier said.
Gobert had a double-double by halftime with 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Jazz built a 58-47 lead at the break.
“We fought hard, so I just told the guys, ‘Look, if we would have played as hard in the first half, we might have won,’” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said.
Mike Conley returned for the Jazz after missing five games with a tight hamstring but left in the third quarter when the pain returned. He had seven points and six assists.
Ingles, who has primarily been a reserve this season, began starting when Conley was out and has been scoring and shooting at a much higher clip. The Australian forward stayed in the starting lineup Tuesday.
Vucevic, in his second game back after an 11-game absence, had 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting. He grabbed 11 rebounds.
YOU GOT TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT
One sequence typified the way the Jazz aspire to play. Mitchell drove the lane and passed the ball to Bogdanovic, who moved it to Royce O’Neale and around the 3-point line to Ingles, who found Mitchell in the corner for an open 3.
“If the ball can stay moving like that and the way the team’s constructed, it gives a lot of guys opportunity. That’s the way we want to play,” Snyder said.
The Jazz had 27 assists on their 42 field goals, and four starters had four or more.
Magic: Michael Carter-Williams got a taunting technical after stealing the ball from Ingles, and then Clifford got one for arguing the call. … The Magic challenged a loose-ball foul in the fourth quarter, but the call was upheld. … Orlando committed just three turnovers, which set a season low and tied a franchise record. Utah had 14.
Jazz: Ingles hit a 3 just before the first-quarter buzzer and stared down Carter-Williams for several seconds with a wry smile. … Career assists and steals leader John Stockton attended the game and received a standing ovation when he was shown on the video board. … Gobert finished with 12 points and 19 rebounds, his 19th consecutive double-double, as Utah outrebounded Orlando 58-41.
The Magic continue their four-game road trip Wednesday against Denver.
The Jazz visit the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports