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12/23/2012 10:14 PM EST
Jazz survive late rally to beat Magic 97-93
UTAH 97, ORLANDO 93

By KYLE HIGHTOWER
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- With one of his veteran floor leaders
sidelined for an unknown amount of time, Utah Jazz coach Tyrone
Corbin wasn't exactly sure how his team would respond against
Orlando after a pair of lopsided losses.



He got a welcomed surprise.



Paul Millsap scored 18 points, Gordon Hayward added 17 and the
Jazz survived a fourth-quarter rally to slip past the Magic
97-93 on Sunday night.



Utah snapped a two-game losing streak with its fifth consecutive
regular-season victory over Orlando. The Jazz played without
point guard Mo Williams, who is out indefinitely after suffering
a sprained right thumb in Saturday's loss to Miami.



Veteran Jamaal Tinsley played well in his place, scoring 11
points and dishing out four assists.



"It is tough, you don't wish that on anybody," Tinsley said of
Williams. "This is just the nature of the beast. I get another
opportunity to go out there and play. We want him to get well
and come back soon. This is just the NBA. Somebody goes down and
somebody else get the opportunity to play ... We just have to
figure out a way to win ballgames and do the right thing."



Arron Afflalo had 20 points, and Nik Vucevic added 16 points and
16 rebounds to lead Orlando, which has dropped back-to-back
games since losing starting forward Glen Davis to a shoulder
injury.



The loss also ended the Magic's three-game home winning streak.



Williams' return in unknown after an MRI on Sunday revealed
damage to the thumb. He will have it re-evaluated back in Salt
Lake City.



Corbin has reason to be optimistic going forward, though.



The Jazz trailed by as many as 16 in the first half against the
Magic before closing that gap to just a point at halftime.



They also scored 22 points off 20 turnovers and also got 43
points from their reserves, including 12 from Derrick Favors.
All of this came on the second night of a back-to-back and
following a pair of losses by a combined 36 points.



"Jamaal and Earl (Watson) came in and did a tremendous job for
us," Corbin said. "They pushed the pace, they were getting the
ball up the floor, advancing the ball, (and) they did a good job
attacking the basket ... Those guys are true professionals. They
do everything they can to help us win."



Orlando led 73-71 entering the fourth quarter, but the Jazz
scored the first seven points of the period and took a 78-73
lead with just over 10 minutes to play.



J.J. Redick hit a fadeaway jumper to put the Magic back on top
87-85 before back-to-back 3's by Tinsley and Randy Foye nudged
the Jazz back in front 91-87 with 2:19 left.



Trailing 92-90, Orlando rebounded a miss by Millsap with less
than a minute to play and called a timeout. The Magic ran a set
play for Afflalo, but his 12-foot jumper was blocked by Hayward
and recovered by the Jazz.



Foye was then fouled and hit a pair of free throws to push the
lead back to four.



Redick hit a 3-pointer out of a timeout to cut it back to one,
and Millsap hit only 1 of 2 at the free throw line after getting
fouled with 10.1 seconds remaining.



Jameer Nelson pushed the ball up court and found Gustavo Ayon
underneath, who was immediately fouled by Foye. Ayon missed the
first free throw and his intentional miss on the second was
rebounded by Tinsley, who hit a pair from the stripe for the
final margin.



"Turnovers are always going to hurt," Vucevic said. "You're
missing an offensive chance to score. We had a lot of them."



With Davis sitting for the second straight game since spraining
his left shoulder last week, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn started
the second-year big man Ayon in his place - his first start of
the season. Davis is out indefinitely, with his return dependent
on the progress he makes during rehabilitation.



Vaughn had gone with rookie Andrew Nicholson in Davis' place
during the Magic's loss to Toronto on Friday, but struggled from
the field in just 19 minutes of action. Ayon came on as a
reserve in that game and posted a double-double.



At 6-foot-10, Ayon gave the Magic a size advantage over the 6-8
Millsap. Ayon finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, but
Millsap clearly won the night.



Vaughn said he wasn't searching for answers of why his team came
up short.



"I think it's pretty simple," Vaughn said. "You outrebound a
team, you shoot 50 percent from the field, make nine 3s, have 20
turnovers for 22 points. The game is really that simple."



Williams said he thinks the point guard spot is in more than
capable hands while he's out.



"One thing about him, he's got a lot of starter's minutes under
his belt," Williams said of his understudy. "But I thought that
the duo of him and Earl ... one is not good without the other. I
think we need both of those guys to play well and I think they
showed that tonight."



Notes: Sunday was the fifth game this season Williams has missed
due to injury. He missed one game in early November with a
strained right abductor and three games late last month with a
sprained right foot. ... The Magic teamed with Chase and
"Operation Homefront" at halftime to surprise Army Sergeant
First Class Paul Hiltibidal and his family with a new,
mortgage-free home and a $2,500 check to help provide holiday
gifts for their four children. While fighting in Afghanistan,
Hiltibidal was injured and retired from the Army earlier this
year.



---



Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at
http://www.twitter.com/khightower.

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