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Magic can’t overcome sloppy play, fall to Jazz

2012 December 23
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by Brian Serra

Nelson-Millsap-Scramble

The Orlando Magic fought hard early and led by as much as 16 points, but in the end they were unable to match the toughness brought by the Utah Jazz and lost at home 97-93.

The Magic out-rebounded, out-assisted and out-shot the Jazz on the night, by significant margins, but were ultimately done in by their own sloppy play.  The Magic had twenty turnovers on the night which lead to 22 Jazz points.  Orlando meanwhile were only able to convert the 11 Jazz turnovers into 8 points.

On the free throw front, Orlando didn’t attempt a single free throw until 4 and a half minutes into the 3rd quarter. They finished the night shooting 8 of 15 from the line compared to the free throw shooting of the Jazz who converted 18 of 25. The Jazz had a positive advantage of 14 points off turnovers and a positive advantage of 10 at the free throw line. That, boys and girls, is a recipe for blowing a 16 point lead at home.

“I think it’s pretty simple. You out rebound a team, you shoot 50% from the field, you make 9 threes. And 20 turnovers for 22 points. The game is really that simple.” -Jacque Vaughn after the game.

The Magic were led in scoring on the night by Arron Afflalo who put in 20 points. Unfortunately, Afflalo reached the 20 point mark with 4:28 left in the 3rd and wouldn’t score again on the night despite playing the entire 4th quarter. Despite playing rather soft throughout the night, Nik Vucevic still managed to have a strong stat line of 16 points and 16 rebounds.

“He (Vucevic) has gotten better since the last time we played them. The only thing that kid is missing is his confidence, and he is gaining that every day. He has a high IQ… passes the ball well… can hit the open jumper… rebounds well and plays great defense. I see a bright future for him.”  -Al Jefferson after the game on the play of Nik Vucevic.

Gustavo Ayon started in place of the injured Big Baby and nearly had a double-double himself, finishing with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Goose brought a lot of energy on the night and played extremely well in his season high 37 minutes on the floor. J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson each had 14 points, but combined for 11 turnovers.

The bigger and more physical Jazz cause huge matchup problems for the Magic. Orlando overcame it early with stellar ball movement, but like many times this season when teams ratchet up their effort and physical play, the inferior skill level of the Magic is exposed.

Despite all of the negatives, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn still managed to find some positives in tonight’s play.

“Positive wise… We’ve shared the ball, we’ve out-rebounded our opponent, we’ve scored in the paint, there are a lot of good things. We are putting ourselves in that position to win ball games. Guys are playing their roles extremely well. We’re getting contributions different nights from different people, so that part has been extremely positive and good to see.” – Coach Jacque Vaughn

The Magic are off the next few days before facing the Hornets at home on the 26th.

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