ORLANDO (ABC4 Sports) – After starting a season-long six-game road trip with three straight losses, the Utah Jazz made enough plays down the stretch to end a four-game slide.
Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points, Talen Horton-Tucker added 23 and the Utah Jazz pulled out a 131-124 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night.
Simone Fontecchio scored 17 points for Utah, and rookie Walker Kessler’s 13 points and 10 rebounds included a crucial three-point play with 35 seconds left after the Magic had cut their deficit to one point.
“We just needed to come out here and bring some kind of energy, just to get out of that little funk that we had, especially starting the road trip off,” Horton-Tucker said. “I feel like it’s a momentum lift for us, especially for this time of the year, so it was good.”
Paolo Banchero scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter for the Magic, who lost their third straight. Markelle Fultz had 25 points and six assists and Franz Wagner added 24 points for Orlando.
Utah made its first six shots of the second half — two by Markkannen — to extend its lead to 15 points, its largest of the game.
Hardy explained that a Jazz theme is to get the 7-foot Markkanen, who averages 25.4 points, “into the mind set of a go-to guy” late in games. He scored seven points late, four after getting called for charging with 1:15 left.
“Some nights it’s really physical,” Markkanen said. “They try different coverages and I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to get better as a player and knowing what to do if they are physical. Just stay on the move, and kind of know the situation. It’s easy to get frustrated, but I think for me and this team, winning is still the biggest thing. I have to do whatever it takes.”
Fultz responded with 13 points over the next seven minutes, leading a 29-10 outburst that gave the Magic a four point lead.
The Jazz led by a point early in the fourth quarter when Kris Dunn hit two straight shots and then came up with a steal that led to a 3-pointer by Fontecchio, giving Utah a 110-102 lead with 7:49 left.
“There was no let down, there was no ‘poor me. attitude after having some tough losses,” said Jazz head coach Will Hardy. “I think everybody just stepped up tonight and really wanted to get a win.”
Banchero, a 27.5% 3-point shooter, hit three from long distance in the final 6 1/2 minutes to keep the Magic in it, including a 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining that made it 124-123.
The Jazz shot 55.7% overall and made 20 of 21 foul shots.
Jordan Clarkson missed a second straight game with a sprained finger. Collin Sexton missed a seventh game with hamstring injury.
The Jazz next play at Charlotte on Saturday night.