Magic’s Offense Erupts Late in Thrilling Win Over Jazz

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Their defense kept them in the game. Their offense catapulted them to a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Not only did they hold a normally potent offensive team to abnormally low shooting percentages, but the Orlando Magic’s offense erupted at the perfect time in a 107-100 win over the Utah Jazz at Amway Center.

Clutch Moments

The Magic, who trailed by as many as 13 in the second half, scored on each of their final six possessions. Cole Anthony hit a go-ahead jumper with 1:28 left and then knocked down another pull-up jumper on Orlando’s next possession. R.J. Hampton made three shots in the final three minutes, including a 3-point dagger with 21.5 seconds remaining after a mad scramble for the loose ball.

Top Performers

For the second time this season and third time in his career, Anthony eclipsed the 30-point mark. He finished with 33 points on 13-of-20 shooting overall and 5-of-10 from 3-point range. Although it’s uncommon for second-year players to be in consideration, the 6-foot-3 guard is an early season Most Improved Player Award candidate. Another greatly improved player is Wendell Carter Jr., who had arguably the best game of his career with 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. He buried four 3-pointers and now has drilled 17 of them this season, already more than his total last season with the Bulls and Magic combined.

Interesting Stat

The 15 first-quarter points by Utah were the fewest allowed in any quarter this season by the Magic. The Jazz shot just 28 percent from the floor and made only one of their 14 3-point tries in that period.

Quote of the Night

“We talk about family all the time with this team, and the togetherness and the empowerment of each other, and wanting to build your teammate up. Mo (Bamba) regularly in the rotation coming in at that moment of the game and we were going to finish that way. And he said: ‘Coach, this group is going. They are doing a great job. I’m good.’ That’s what this thing is about. Empowering your teammate and trusting your teammates that are on the floor, knowing they got it going. For Mo, that was big time.” – Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley on staying with the lineup down the stretch that got them back in the game

Injury Report

Out for Orlando were Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee) and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain). Unavailable for Utah were Mike Conley (right knee injury maintenance), Rudy Gay (right heel injury recovery), Elijah Hughes (non-COVID related illness) and Udoka Azubuike (G League – on assignment).

This Day in History

The furthest the Magic have ever traveled to play was 7,250 miles away. The city was Tokyo, Japan, where they squared off against the New Jersey Nets for two games in November 1996. The first of those two contests, both won by Orlando, was on Nov. 7 of that year. Penny Hardaway led the Magic with 23 points, while Gerald Wilkins scored 18 and Nick Anderson finished with 14 points. New Jersey was led by Kendall Gill, who tallied 22 points.

Up Next

The Magic will host Kevin Durant, James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Brooklyn is currently on a five-game winning streak after rolling past the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Durant led the Nets with 31 points, while Harden finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Unexpected, but Brooklyn’s defense has been ahead of their offense so far this year. Entering Sunday’s NBA action, they had the fifth best defensive rating and were 21st in offensive rating.

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