SALT LAKE CITY – – Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz to a 114-99 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Hassan Whiteside added 15 points and 18 rebounds, a season high for the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson had 18 points and Royce O’Neale added 14 and five assists.
Udoka Azubuike finished with a career-high 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting in his fifth career start. Utah won its fifth straight game at home for the first time this season.
The defense carried the Jazz on a night when they struggled to find their shot.
“We’ve done a good job of protecting them,” Mitchell said. “To be able to stick to that and keep, (we) weren’t letting our offense affect our defence.”
Wendell Carter Jr. scored 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Orlando. Mo Bamba added 16 points and eight boards, and Cole Anthony had 18 points and five assists.
The Magic lost for the third time in four games after giving up 24 points on 18 turnovers.
“I think they came out and upped the pressure,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “And then we ended up turning the basketball over too many times for transition baskets, easy baskets.”
Orlando only led once, but still pushed Utah in the fourth quarter.
The Magic cut the deficit to 83-79 on a 3-pointer from Terence Ross with 9:54 to go, but the Jazz wouldn’t let it close. Clarkson fed Azubuike for back-to-back dunks, then dumped a 3-pointer to spark an 18-9 surge that pushed Utah’s lead to 101-88 with 5:12 remaining.
“It’s a playoff team, and that’s what these types of teams do in the third or fourth quarter,” Carter said. “They play the kind of basketball that is needed to win.”
In the first quarter, Mitchell scored three baskets and had four free throws to power a 17-0 run that helped Utah take a 24-7 lead. The Magic made just five baskets and shot 24% from the field in the first quarter. They totaled 12 points in the first 12 minutes — a season low for an opponent from Utah.
Orlando finally got on the right track in the second quarter. Jalen Suggs booked an 11-3 run with a pair of baskets and assisted two more that made it a two possession game. His run dunk that capped the run cut Utah’s lead to 44-39 in the final minute before halftime.
The Jazz only made three baskets in the final nine minutes of the first half. But Utah coach Quin Snyder liked their defense.
“We were really in competition,” he said. “We were coming with 50/50 balls.”
The Magic fully erased the deficit on a 3-point play from Carter that tied it at 54 apiece early in the third quarter. Trent Forrest and O’Neale responded with 3 straight points to put Utah ahead 60-54. It was one of three outside baskets for O’Neale in the third quarter.
Magic: Mortiz Wagner (bruised left rib) missed his second game in a row. … Suggs dished out four of his seven assists in the second quarter. … Orlando fell to 0-22 in scoring less than 100 points this season.
Jazz: Rudy Gobert (left calf sprain) and Rudy Gay (right knee pain) were inactive. … Utah went 3 of 23 (.130) from 3-point range in the first half… O’Neale had four interceptions before halftime. … Whiteside has 35 rebounds in Utah’s last two games.
LEAVE A MARK
Azubuike is quietly blossoming into the kind of contributor Utah envisioned when the team selected him with the 27th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Over his last five games, all starts, Azubuike is averaging 9 .6 points and 9.4 rebounds in 22.8 minutes.
His play lifted the Jazz, which haven’t had Gobert in nine games.
“I feel like I can really play in this league with my ability and what I bring to the table,” Azubuike said.
Magic: visit Phoenix on Saturday.
Jazz: hosts Houston on Monday.