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Al Jefferson leads Utah Jazz to 87-81 victory over Orlando

Published December 5, 2012 11:32 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Al Jefferson scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half, leading the Utah Jazz to a 87-81 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak, but it was tempered by the fact Jefferson injured his back with 1:29 remaining against the Magic and went to the locker room.

Utah squandered a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter and Orlando took a 79-78 lead before Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left.

Jefferson followed with back-to-back baskets before being injured and the Jazz held on to beat the Magic, who missed their final four shots.

The Jazz built a 24-15 lead in the first quarter.

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Jefferson scored six points and Mo Williams added five in the quarter as Utah dominated. The Magic committed six turnovers and shot only 7-for-19 from the field.

Orlando got as close as 28-23 early in the second quarter on a basket by rookie Andrew Nicholson.

The Jazz quickly countered, however.

Gordon Hayward made two free throws and Paul Millsap scored seven points in a span of 85 seconds. When Marvin Williams found himself mismatched against Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, he went inside and scored.

Williams' layup capped an 11-4 run and gave Utah a 39-27 lead with 5:58 left.

By halftime, Millsap scored 16 points and Utah limited Orlando to 35.9 percent shooting as the Jazz ended up with a 45-34 lead. Aaron Afflalo led Orlando with 12 points, but no other Magic player managed more than six.

The Jazz still owned a 56-45 lead with 71/2 minutes left in the third quarter before they misfired on five straight possessions.

Orlando went on an 8-0 run and got as close as 56-53, but Utah converted six of its final nine possessions during a 12-4 flurry of its own to re-establish an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter.