Orlando, Fla. • Trey Burke’s first work trip to central Florida was memorable for all the wrong reasons. But that "was a long, long time ago," Utah Jazz coach Ty Corbin said with a smile Wednesday. "We forgot about that."
Six months after Burke looked overwhelmed and underwhelming in summer league play, shooting just 24 percent and hitting one of his 19 attempts from 3-point territory, the Jazz rookie put together the finest game of his young pro career, propelling Utah to a 86-82 win over the Magic at Amway Center.
"He was waiting to get back to Orlando, I guess," Corbin said.
While Victor Oladipo, the Magic’s rookie guard who was drafted seven spots ahead of Burke in June, missed 10 of his 11 shots, Utah’s young floor leader scored a season-high 30 points, dished eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
"Night from day. Night from day," Burke said of his improvement since July. "Coming in here during the summer league, it was a new pace for me, a new speed, size was different."
The ninth pick in the draft was frustrated by his early play, but said his summer-time struggles helped make him better.
"Absolutely," he said. "As a rookie, you always want to come in and play well, especially in summer league. That’s your first evaluation from everybody. Obviously, I didn’t play the way I wanted to play or the way I know I can play. It definitely motivated me to work harder."
And while it wasn’t foremost on Burke’s mind that Orlando was one of eight teams to pass on him in the draft, perhaps it didn’t hurt, either.
"Obviously, it was a team that was early in the lottery," Burke said. "That wasn’t my main intention or my main goal, but I definitely wanted to come out and be aggressive. For me, I’m trying to win and do whatever it takes for the team to win."
He did just that Wednesday.
Coming off a blowout loss in Miami, the Jazz controlled things early in Orlando, assembling a 27-20 lead by the end of the first quarter, absorbing a Magic run, and then pushing the advantage to as much as 12 in the second.
But even with Orlando missing its leading scorer, swingman Arron Afflalo and his 21 points a night, the Magic made things difficult for the visitors.
Down six to start the final quarter, Orlando’s E’Twaun Moore hit a pair of 3-pointers to help fuel a 14-1 Magic run. With the Jazz down seven points and less than eight minutes to play in the game, Burke, Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams and Derrick Favors checked back into the game for Utah.
"I just told him, ‘G, we’ve got to be more aggressive,’" Burke said.
Hayward, who had struggled with his shot early, hit an 18-footer, part of a 15-point, seven-assist, six-rebound night. Favors scored on a tip-in. Burke hit a jumper. Then Williams put the Jazz back on top with a 3.
With 10 seconds to go and the Jazz up 2, Orlando had a chance to tie or win. Point guard Jameer Nelson took the inbound pass, and with Burke guarding him, drove to the basket. Favors, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, didn’t get his fingers on Nelson’s final shot, but his long arms bothered it just enough.
Nelson finished with 17 points and needing at least two more.
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