Without Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic fall to the Utah Jazz 86-82

This wasn't what the Orlando Magic had in mind when they talked about building momentum — and earning some wins — during their six-game homestand.

Playing without leading scorer Arron Afflalo, who was sick, the Magic missed shot after shot, some of them from close range.

They failed to play with energy on defense in the first half.

And they allowed rookie point guard Trey Burke to pick them apart all night long.

The Magic lost a winnable game against one of the NBA's worst teams Wednesday night, falling to the Utah Jazz 86-82 at Amway Center.

"We didn't make shots tonight," power forward Glen Davis said. "On the other end, defensively, we broke down a couple of times when we needed to stay together. It was tough out there."

If you had to boil the game down to one moment, you'd look no further than the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. Trailing 84-82 with 10.0 seconds left, Jameer Nelson received an inbounds pass, drove past Burke and tried to bank in a layup over Derrick Favors' outstretched right arm. Nelson missed the layup.

"He just made a play at the ball and I just missed a shot," Nelson said. "It was a play I've made probably a thousand times. I just missed it. Sometimes it goes in. Sometimes it doesn't."

The Magic missed the vast majority of their shots on Wednesday.

Although the Jazz entered the night ranked last in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to make 47.5 percent of their attempts, the Magic shot a season-low 32.6 percent from the field.

Center Nik Vucevic made just five of his 18 attempts, but no one struggled more than rookie guard Victor Oladipo, whose 1-for-12 shooting night was the worst of his brief pro career.

"I missed shots," Oladipo said. "We all missed shots collectively. They hit big shots."

No Jazz player made more big shots than Burke, last season's consensus national college player of the year at the University of Michigan.

Burke scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-30 shooting. He also collected seven rebounds and distributed eight assists.

The Magic passed on Burke in the draft, but Burke insisted he didn't want to make the Magic pay for not choosing him.

"That wasn't my main intention or my main goal," he said. "But I definitely wanted to come out and be aggressive."

Burke made a pull-up jumper that put Utah ahead 80-78 with 3:45 left to play.

The Jazz led the rest of the way.

With 1:09 left, swingman Gordon Hayward rattled in a wide-open 19-foot jumper to extend Utah's lead to 84-80.

After Davis made a pair of free throws, Orlando had a chance to tie the score. But Tobias Harris threw up an airball from 16 feet.

A Jazz shotclock violation gave the Magic their last chance — the chance that ended with Nelson's missed driving layup.

"A good look," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.

Normally, however, that end-of-game play would've been drawn up for Afflalo.

"He's the reason why we've been winning," Davis said. "He's going to give you 20 points a game. We missed those 20 today."

The Magic (8-18) hope they'll generate some wins on this homestand. A game against the lowly Jazz (7-21) was supposed to provide a good opportunity.

Now, in retrospect, it looks the Magic accomplished only one thing: getting Harris into a rhythm. In just his fifth game following a high-ankle sprain, Harris started in Afflalo's place and scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

But even Harris sounded disappointed afterward.

"If we had that type of effort that we brought in the second half [during] the first half," he said, "that would've been our game from the jump."


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