Shorthanded Magic shoot their way past JazzDec 14, 2008 - 6:29 AM By Tony Pizza PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- It turns out Dwight Howard is mortal - but the Orlando Magic hardly missed him.
Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu combined for 50 points, Jameer Nelson added 17 more and the Howard-less Orlando Magic picked up a 103-94 road win over the Utah Jazz.
Howard, who leads the league in rebounding and blocked shots, missed his first game as a professional basketball player with a sore left knee. His consecutive games played streak ended at 351 games, which was third on the active NBA list.
"We worked all together," Turkoglu said. "Everybody stepped up and used the opportunity to play and show themselves. We learn lots from games like this. We beat a good team tonight. We needed a win like this."
Orlando improved to 9-3 on the road - and had the third quarter to thank for this one.
The Jazz went 5-of-6 from the 3-point line in the opening half and spent the first 24 minutes building a 10-point lead, but it took Orlando three minutes to effectively erase Utah's advantage.
The Magic came out firing in the third and took advantage of a suddenly lackadaisical Utah squad. Over the first seven minutes of the period, they staged a 19-3 run, with Jameer Nelson, Turkoglu and Keith Bogans all connecting from the arc.
"They came out and killed us in the third quarter," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We couldn't stop them from the very beginning. They went right at us and we didn't seem to have any life to try to compete against them."
The Magic limited the Jazz to just 12 points the entire quarter to take full control with a 12-point lead through three. Nelson, Bogans, Turkoglu each hit three 3-pointers apiece and Orlando knocked down 14 overall - giving the team a combined 27 over the last two nights.
"This was one of the best wins I've ever been a part of," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I just think, second night of a back-to-back against a good team, down 10 at the half, and that third quarter was tremendous."
The Jazz did not connect on a field goal for the first seven minutes of the second half and even managed to miss half of their three trips to the free throw line during that span.
Orlando shot 65 percent from the field in the third to take control. Utah shot 53.5 percent in the first half but cooled considerably after the break, hitting just 3-of-15 (20 percent) in the third.
"They came out, wanted it more and they had more energy and more life," Williams said. "They're tough with Howard in there, but they're also tough without him. They go small and they spread you out and create matchup problems."
The holidays are typically rough for the Jazz on the road. This year, however, the Jazz have even struggled at times to find wins at home. Utah is now 4-4 at home since losing its first home game to Chicago on November 24. Utah, which had the best home record in the league a year ago, has lost all of its home games to Eastern Conference opponents this season.
Paul Millsap had his 11th straight double-double, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds, and five other Jazz players scored in double figures. Deron Williams added 17 points and 11 assists for his seventh double-double of the season.
"None of that matters if you don't get the win," Millsap said of his stat line. "It's all irrelevant."
Despite the rough third quarter, the Jazz didn't go down without a fight.
Williams' free throw cut Orlando's lead to 89-80 with 5:52 remaining in the game. After Okur hit his first free throw to shave another point off the Magic's lead, he missed the second, but Millsap grabbed the offensive board.
Andrei Kirilenko hit a jump shot that touched every part of the rim on the second chance to bring the Jazz within six and bring the home crowd to life. However, Bogans' ensuing 3-pointer put Orlando back up by nine with 4:14 remaining.
Utah hit four straight free throws to pull within five with three minutes to go, but Lewis cleaned up Turkoglu's miss from downtown with a putback dunk in the lane to quiet Utah's crowd.
"Everybody has to step up," Lewis said. "We executed things that we wanted to do."
Howard, who leads the Magic with 21.1 points per game, was missed in the first half as Utah outrebounded Orlando, 26-14. The Magic came into the second with a renewed focus and matched Utah's 19 rebounds in the second half - including Lewis, who had eight.
"They shot 30 percent in the second half," Van Gundy said of the Jazz. "After getting crushed on the boards in the first half, we were dead even on the boards in the second half. We took a team that averages in the high 40s in points in the paint and held them to 24."
Lewis led the way with 27 points for Orlando and Turkoglu added 23.
"I feel like were ready to take that next step," Howard said. "We were good last year, but we're going to be even better. I have to be better out there, on the defensive end as well as the offensive end."
The Jazz now head east for their traditional pre-Christmas road trip and will play five games in seven nights.
UTAH 94 FINAL
Dec 13 11:23 PM
UTAH 68 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 13 10:51 PM
UTAH 56 HALFTIME
Dec 13 10:09 PM
UTAH 26 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 13 9:39 PM
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