ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Utah Jazz rallied again, coming back from a double-digit deficit for the second night in a row.
A night after a 22-point comeback victory in overtime at Miami, the Jazz went down 18 points in the third quarter but came back to stun Orlando. Al Jefferson had a huge hook over Dwight Howard, and Williams followed with a jumper over Nelson with 46.5 seconds remaining to give Utah an eight-point lead and cap the comeback.
So what's the key for the Jazz?
"I guess, getting behind," Millsap joked. "I guess that's what it takes to show all our talents."
Vince Carter had 20 points and Nelson returned from a sprained left ankle to score 19 points for the Magic, who had their four-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time in the new Amway Center.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy called it a "disturbing loss" with 21 turnovers that had similar trends to an 18-point lead they blew against the Charlotte Bobcats last week. Although Orlando won that game, Van Gundy didn't think his teamed learn anything from it.
"Ridiculous professional basketball," he said.
The Jazz's furious rally was highlighted with a 24-2 run between the third and fourth quarters. Andrei Kirilenko and Williams each hit a pair of 3-pointers during the spurt to give them an 80-76 lead.
"It's tough to do," Williams said. "It just happened for us two night in a row. So consider us lucky."
But Utah always seems to start slow.
After hanging tough with the Magic for most of the first quarter, the Jazz started to resemble a tired team coming off a tough overtime win a night earlier. They were slow getting back defensively and poor passing led to a bundle of turnovers.
Once again, it seemed over against one of the Eastern Conference elite teams.
"Improbable? We're supposed to be able to play," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of winning at Miami and Orlando on consecutive nights. "It wasn't probably, it was just a matter of trying to come and play and worry about what happened later."
What happened was another slow start with a strong finish.
Carter provided the biggest blow to the momentum Utah was carrying over from Miami with a 3-pointer from 29 feet away at the first quarter buzzer, pumping his right hand in celebration and bringing an otherwise lifeless crowd to its feet. Orlando closed the second quarter on a 13-4 run behind by 3-pointers by Nelson and Rashard Lewis to take a 45-35 lead.
Orlando appeared to have things rolling.
Howard emphatically blocked Williams' layup attempt into the stands for the second time. Brandon Bass took an alley-oop from Nelson for a hard two-hand slam, and an outpouring of 3-pointers put the Magic ahead 74-56 to seemingly put the game out of reach.
But it would all come crashing down.
"You do your work to get a big lead and the question is, 'Can you sustain it?'" Carter said. "They've done a great job in past games of making their come backs and they did it again."
Sloan was asked if playing at Miami and Orlando was one of the toughest back-to-back games in the league considering the high-profile franchises. "You mean because of the weather?" Sloan joked. "It's a 20-minute flight. It's not so bad." ... Howard was called for his fourth technical foul of the season. ... Nelson was limping on his left ankle after the game in the locker room. He said it was just soreness and expects to play Friday against the Toronto Raptors.
- Bob Delaney
- Scott Wall
- Rodney Mott