Orlando Magic Grades: Utah Jazz 109, Orlando Magic 96

Donovan Mitchell had his way with the Orlando Magic again in the fourth quarter to lead the Utah Jazz to a win. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell had his way with the Orlando Magic again in the fourth quarter to lead the Utah Jazz to a win. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic played even with the Utah jazz until a fourth-quarter run put them behind and they could not completely recover.

38. Final. 109. 118. 96

The Orlando Magic had everything flowing as Terrence Ross stepped up and hit another and-1 3-pointer. The Orlando Magic took a brief one-point lead and stood toe-to-toe with the Utah Jazz once again. The Magic continued to prove they could scramble and defend and play against anyone.

The Jazz have something the Magic do not have. Something that will become an even bigger difference as the team continues to try to find its way. Something that was probably a difference even before the injury.

To start the fourth quarter, Donovan Mitchell came around a screen and pulled up a for a quick 3-pointer. Boom, the Jazz were up four.

Then the ball whipped around. The Magic scrambled to stop drives and control the glass. But they could not be everywhere at once. And Utah is in a groove with precise passing. When they get things going, it is hard for anyone to stop them.

The Jazz took that 3-pointer from Mitchell and turned it into a 15-5 run. Each time the Magic tried to answer the Jazz answered back. Sometimes there will be nights like these. And sometimes there is just no answer for greatness.

Mitchell scored 10 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, spearheading that seemingly decisive run. The Magic could not quite answer or make another push to keep up with Mitchell able to make plays in a 109-96 loss at the Amway Center on Saturday.

Orlando coach Steve Clifford took some blame after the game, saying the team is still working and learning its new coverages to make up for Jonathan Isaac’s loss. Indeed there were certainly some parts of the game where the Magic were scrambling and not quite on a string.

Still, for most of the game after a lethargic first quarter, the Magic were on point defensively. In the middle two quarters, Utah scored only 43 points. The Magic did a good job forcing turnovers and keeping the Jazz off the three-point line.

That is always the place to start for this team. The Magic did a good job on the glass too, using the size from their second unit to overpower and overwhelm the Jazz for good chunks of the game.

Still, Utah hit 16 of 40 3-pointers. The Jazz were able to get their offense moving. And Rudy Gobert‘s constant presence in the paint kept the Magic searching for better shots that did not come once the Jazz focused in the fourth quarter.

Orlando’s effort was there. The shot-making (as usual) and defensive execution was not.

B. <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

G/F. Orlando Magic. TERRENCE ROSS. B. <a href=

A-. When <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. MOHAMED BAMBA

C+. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

B+. The Utah Jazz are starting to find themselves in the last 11 games, where they have now won 10. The team rides Donovan Mitchell hard offensively as the team’s primary playmaker without <a rel=. 23-12. 5th West. UTAH JAZZ

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The Orlando Magic are 16-20. They are two games ahead of the Charlotte Hornets for eighth and one game behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Magic host the Nets on Monday in their next game.