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News » Warming up: Season's forecast a little brighter after Magical win


Warming up: Season's forecast a little brighter after Magical win


Warming up: Season's forecast a little brighter after Magical win A back-to-back set against last season's two NBA Finals teams was billed beforehand as a weather stick as good as any. Consider the Jazz a tad chilly, but warming way faster than the rest of Utah. They lost Wednesday night to the best in the West, yielding a 20-0 fourth-quarter run on the road to the defending league-champion Los Angeles Lakers. But on Thursday night at home they won against one of the East's beasts, rallying from 18 points down in the first half to beat the Orlando Magic 120-111 in a TNT-televised game at EnergySolutions Arena.

It was the ninth victory in 12 games for the Jazz , who are now 13-9 with three games left in a stretch with 11-of-14 at home. The 17-5 Magic, meanwhile, had their six-game overall win streak come to a close and their string of consecutive road victories end at eight. Deron Williams had a season-high 32 points with 9-for-18 shooting from the field, C.J. Miles scored a season-high 22 while shooting 9-for-17, and Carlos Boozer added 20 for the Jazz , who never allowed a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter to slip below six. The Jazz , in fact, led by nine or more over the final seven minutes and 21 seconds. "We all were disappointed with our loss (Wednesday) in L.A.," Williams said. "That fourth quarter (against the Lakers), we kind of continued in the first quarter (against the Magic). We just had to get out of that funk," he added. "I started shooting, and started getting a little more aggressive, going to the basket, and opened some things up." Williams (15 assists, one off his season-high), Boozer (14 rebounds) and Mehmet Okur (14 points, 11 boards) all had double-doubles ? Williams his eighth of the season, Boozer his 15th and Okur his third. Williams also tied his career high for rebounds with eight, leaving him two shy of what would have been his first career triple-double. "Deron was terrific in the ballgame," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Williams, who committed just one turnover in 42 minutes Thursday. "We didn't get off to a very good start," he added, "but I thought our guys fought back and got in the ballgame." The Jazz found themselves down 47-29 midway through the second quarter, but they chipped away and ? closing the first half with a 12-4 run ? went into the break down eight at 60-52. "Going down 18 points against this team," Sloan said, "is a pretty big hill to climb." Yet the Jazz did, despite the best efforts of Orlando shooting guard Vince Carter hit just 4-for-13 from the field in the first half but still finished with a game-high 34 points. Boozer had 13 and Williams 11 at the half for the Jazz , who play host to the Lakers in an end-of-the-week rematch Saturday night. Those two combined for nine of the Jazz's 12 point during their late opening-half run, with Boozer scoring four on a teardrop and a fastbreak dunk and Williams getting five on a free throw, an inbounds-play layup and a banked runner. The Jazz started the second half as strong as they finished the first, reeling off a 10-2 run to tie the game at 62 when Okur hit two free throws 31/2 minutes into the third quarter. Okur started it all with a hook, then watched rookie Wesley Matthews make a layup and both Boozer and Ronnie Brewer dunk. And when Williams knocked down a 3-pointer that barely beat the buzzer at the end of the third, Utah went into the fourth up 90-81. Miles scored nine of his 22 in the last quarter, when he hit 4-of-7 shots from the floor. "When C.J. is back in there shooting the ball the way he's doing, it opens a lot of things up," Williams said of Miles, who was playing just his fifth game following surgery to repair a ruptured ligament in the thumb on his shooting hand. "People out there respect our perimeter now with him and Memo (Okur) out there," Williams added. "Hopefully, we get Kyle Korver (who's been out all season due to arthroscopic knee surgery) back soon, and he will help out even more." NOTES: The Jazz are now 3-1 on major national cable TV this season, including 3-0 on TNT. ... Dwight Howard finished with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Magic. ... Usual starting point guard Jameer Nelson (arthroscopic knee surgery) remains out for Orlando. e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 12, 2009

 

 
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