Jazz comeback from 18 down, stun Magic 104-94

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 10 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Jazz-Magic boxscore

ORLANDO, Fla. — Magic happened.


And it happened for the team from Utah — not the squad whose players sport that enchanted word on their chests.

It's become quite the act for the Jazz, who are making a habit out of pulling comeback victories out of their hats.

For the third straight game — and the second in as many nights in Florida against an Eastern Conference power — Utah made a double-digit lead vanish en route to a captivating victory.

The Magic — the Orlando version, that is — became the latest mystified opponent wondering what happened after the Jazz rallied from down 18 to claim a 104-94 victory at a sold-out Amway Center.

"It says we have a lot of fight in us," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said, when asked about the team's new comeback knack. "But we can't keep relying on getting down and coming back, especially on the road. It is tough to do."

But they're perfecting that trick. Just ask the Magic, Heat and Clippers, who've combined to botch 58 points worth of leads against the Jazz since Saturday.

"Consider us lucky," Williams said.

By the way, the Jazz aren't celebrating their latest deficit-defying win — a night after overcoming Miami's 22-point lead — by going to Disney World on today's rare off-day. They're headed to Atlanta for the third game in this brutal-but-oh-so-thrilling four-game road trip on Friday.

Free advice for the Hawks and other future opponents: Think twice before taking a big lead on the 5-3 Jazz.

Quit is a four-letter word this team has removed from its vocabulary.

"It shows what type of players we have in this system. It shows what kind of coach we have," Jazz power forward Paul Millsap said about 24 hours after his 46-point career night against Miami. "It shows we are trying to get somewhere and not just going out there just to play basketball. We are trying to fight for a championship just like everybody else."

They're certainly not going about it like everybody else.

Following their recent pattern, the Jazz struggled in the first half and trailed by double digits early. Orlando led 45-35 at the break thanks to a 10-point difference between the two teams on second-chance points.

Utah continued to look out of sync while falling behind by 18 at 74-56 on a Rashard Lewis 3-pointer that hit the rim then popped up and back in. It looked like the Magic would continue their unbeaten ways in their fancy new $480 million home.

But the Jazz took advantage of a bench-ridden, foul-plagued Dwight Howard and whittled the Magic's seemingly safe lead down to four by the time Superman returned with 9:51 remaining.

While another Utah opponent look stunned in crunch time, the Jazz played poised and polished. The Jazz eventually took the lead — though not for good — on a banked-in 3-point shot by Andrei Kirilenko that made it 78-76 for Utah.

Jameer Nelson scored six quick points and Vince Carter hit a 3-point bomb, and suddenly the Magic had an 85-82 lead.

But that's when Utah did what it does best — rally to win — and outscored Orlando 22-9 in the final five minutes.

"The second half we got more baskets inside than we did in the first half," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, dismissing the idea this was an "improbable" victory. "And that's always kind of important to us."

Williams was the master magician on this night, making the Magic scratch their heads as he pulled a variety of showy tricks out of his bag. The All-Star finished with a game-high 30 points, dished out 14 assists and pulled down five rebounds.

Williams hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter that gave Utah a boost heading into the fourth, even while trailing 74-65 after 36 minutes.

The 6-3 guard began the fourth quarter with a turnover after getting called for three seconds while trying to post up on 6-1 Chris Duhon.

But about everything else in the fourth quarter was, well, magical for the All-Star.

He poured in 17 points in the quarter alone, including two clutch game-tying jumpers and the Jazz's final eight points. He also had five assists in that 12-minute dazzling display.

"Deron played a terrific game," Sloan said. "He got into a rhythm."

What really helped is that multiple Jazz players did that when it mattered most.

Al Jefferson bounced back from his two-point game in Miami to score 21 points with eight rebounds, Millsap had another solid showing with 23 points and Kirilenko chipped in with a dozen. Kyrylo Fesenko also made two pivotal inside baskets and a free throw in the fourth.

And the Jazz simply dominated down the stretch, even when the 6-11 mammoth Howard returned.

Utah scored 69 points in the second half, including a 39-point, 66.7-percent-shooting fourth quarter that wasn't quite as spectacular as Tuesday night's finish in Miami but almost.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company