NBA Basketball

Markkanen scores 31, Jazz beat Magic to end four-game skid

(AP Photo/John Raoux)


Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points, Talen Horton-Tucker added 23 and the Utah Jazz snapped a four-game losing streak with a 131-124 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night.

Simone Fontecchio scored 17 points for Utah, and rookie center Walker Kessler's 13 points and 10 rebounds included a crucial three-point play with 35 seconds left after the Magic had cut their deficit to one point.

Paolo Banchero scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter for the Magic, who lost their third straight. Markelle Fultz had 25 points and six assists and Franz Wagner added 24 points for Orlando.

The losing streak had dropped Utah out of play-in position in the Western Conference. The Jazz are well within range of getting back in and Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Kessler came up with the big plays down the stretch.

“After losing some tough games to start this road trip, there was no letdown, no poor-me attitude,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “I think everybody just stepped up tonight and really wanted to get a win.”

Hardy explained that a Jazz theme is to get the 7-foot Markkanen, who averages 25.4 points, “into the mind set of a go-to guy” late in games. He scored seven points late, four after getting called for charging with 1:15 left.

“Some nights it’s really physical,” Markkanen said. “They try different coverages and I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to get better as a player and knowing what to do if they are physical ... just stay on the move, and kind of know the situation. It’s easy to get frustrated, but I think for me and this team, winning is still the biggest thing. I have to do whatever it takes.”

Utah made its first six shots of the second half - two by Markkanen - to extend its lead to 15 points, its largest of the game.

Fultz responded with 13 points over the next seven minutes, leading a 29-10 outburst that gave the Magic a four point lead.

The Jazz led by a point early in the fourth quarter when Dunn hit two straight shots and then came up with a steal that led to a 3-pointer by Fontecchio, giving Utah a 110-102 lead with 7:49 left.

Banchero, a 27.5% 3-point shooter, hit three from long distance in the final 6 1/2 minutes to keep the Magic in it, including a 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining that made it 124-123.

“We made a lot of 3s (16) but we missed a lot of free throws (11),” Bancherso said. “A lot of teams are just trying to stop us from getting into the paint and stop us from driving. So the 3-ball is there a lot of times and you’ve just got to take it with confidence.”


Jazz: Dunn finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes. . . . The Jazz shot 55.7% overall and made 20 of 21 foul shots. . . . Kessler blocked three shots and had a plus-15 ratio, the highest for either team. . . . G Jordan Clarkson missed a second straight game with a sprained finger. ... G Collin Sexton missed a seventh game with a hamstring injury.

Magic: Shot 16 for 34 (47.1%) from 3-point range. ... C Wendell Carter Jr. missed a third game with a sore left hip. The Magic gave up 122, 134 and 131 points in those three games.


Jazz: At Charlotte on Saturday night.

Magic: Host Miami Heat on Saturday night.


AP NBA: and

Updated March 9, 2023

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