In a thrilling and hard-fought contest, the Orlando Magic emerged victorious against the Utah Jazz, with a final score of 115-113. Paolo Banchero, who scored 30 points, proved to be the difference-maker with a deciding layup just 14 seconds before the final buzzer.
Banchero showcased his all-around skills throughout the game, adding nine rebounds and five assists to his impressive point total. He made it a point to attack the paint relentlessly, with only one of his nine baskets coming from beyond the perimeter. Additionally, he displayed his composure by sinking 11 of 15 free throws.
“I just wanted to be aggressive and take advantage of the mismatches,” Banchero commented on his performance.
The victory was a significant milestone for the Magic, as they had struggled in previous encounters with the Jazz, winning only three of their last 15 games against the Utah team. Franz Wagner contributed 21 points, while Cole Anthony had 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, helping the Magic secure their second road victory and cap a four-game trip on a high note.
Banchero spoke of the team’s growth, saying, “I think us winning tonight just kind of shows our growth as a team. It’s a boost being able to go back home with some momentum.”
Orlando’s relentless attacks on the rim proved to be a winning strategy, resulting in 56 points in the paint and 13 second-chance points. Their proficiency from the free-throw line, going 27 of 36, further cemented their victory.
“I think that’s where we can thrive in this league – by attacking the paint and getting downhill,” said Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley.
On the Jazz side, Lauri Markkanen led the scoring with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson added 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists. John Collins made his presence felt with a 20-point, 10-rebound performance. Despite the loss, the Jazz had previously enjoyed a seven-game home winning streak against the Magic.
The game witnessed momentum shifts, with both teams taking double-digit leads at different points. Utah initially enjoyed a strong start in the first quarter, shooting at a 60% rate. Collins played a pivotal role, contributing three baskets and three free throws to establish a 28-18 lead for the Jazz.
However, the Magic managed to erase the deficit in the second quarter with an 18-3 run, surging to a 63-54 lead. Wagner’s back-to-back baskets put Orlando in the lead, and Banchero sealed the impressive run with a reverse layup.
While Orlando held a 14-point lead at one stage, the Jazz launched a late third-quarter rally, closing the gap to 85-84 on Markkanen’s dunk.
Utah coach Will Hardy reflected on the game, noting the team’s inconsistent performance, saying, “Winning the first quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter – it was fantastic, but we sort of lost our minds in the second quarter for a little bit there.”
The game also saw the Magic dealing with injuries, as Markelle Fultz sat out due to knee swelling, Gary Harris left the game with a sore right groin, and Wendell Carter, Jr. exited after a fall on his left hand. Coach Mosley mentioned that all three players would be further evaluated upon returning to Florida.
Despite the ups and downs of the game, Orlando Magic’s win on the road showcased their determination and growth as a team, while the Utah Jazz will look to regroup as they embark on a four-game trip, with the Minnesota Timberwolves awaiting them in their next matchup.