The Jazz got a huge break from the Magic as they missed half their free throws in the final period and Utah held on for a 119-115 win Saturday night, sending Orlando home with consecutive road losses for the first time this season.
After making 20 of 21 free throws in the first three quarters, the Magic were 10-for-20 in the fourth.
“We struggled at times during the game defending people, but they have a tough lineup out there,” Williams said. “They’re a little smaller, and they’re quick.”
Orlando was wrapping up a four-game western road trip and had lost at Denver 113-103 the night before. The Magic fell behind by 10 in the first quarter and never quite recovered, battling back to tie it but never taking a lead.
The Magic, who lead the NBA with 16 road wins, blew several chances from the foul line in the fourth quarter, opening the period 3-for-10.
“We didn’t shoot free throws that badly all night, but in the fourth quarter we went through that one stretch where it really hurt us,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Dwight Howard scored 29 points for Orlando and made a career-best 16 from the line, but was just 3-for-9 in the fourth.
Howard also had 15 rebounds, and Rashard Lewis added 27 points for the Magic, who went 1-3 on the road trip.
“The intensity was lacking,” Howard said. “We’ve got to play harder. We need to play hard after our losses and not give up.”
After a brutal December, the Jazz have won four of five.
“Some of these games are kind of fool’s gold I think,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We’ve caught teams that have been short-handed, but we had to win. We had to figure out some way to win.”
The Jazz are also healthier than they have been in a while. Andrei Kirilenko returned after missing three games with a bad back and finished with 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Okur, who was out for seven games in December with a strained shoulder, has scored 51 points and pulled down 25 rebounds in the last two games. He was 4-for-5 from 3-point range Saturday.
“The last two games he has played great. That was the Memo of last season and that’s the Memo we are hoping to have the rest of this season,” said Carlos Boozer, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. “Maybe he’s got his confidence back a little bit more and obviously his touch has returned.”
After trailing by 10 early, Orlando kept it close in the second half and got within two points several times. Hedo Turkoglu finally tied it at 93 on a 3-pointer, then Howard had a chance to give the Magic their first lead, but missed both foul shots with 5:25 remaining.
The Jazz quickly regained the lead when Kirilenko slipped a pass in the lane to Boozer, who dunked it and drew a foul. Boozer converted the three-point play and Okur followed with a 3-pointer.
The Magic continued to struggle from the line and the Jazz slowly pulled away, taking a 107-98 lead on a back-door layup by Williams off a pass from Boozer. Orlando extended the game with fouls, but the Jazz were able to hold on for the win.
Jason Hart’s shot just inside the half-court mark at the end of the third went in and put Utah up 85-80 entering the fourth. … All 10 starters scored in double figures. Utah had 32 assists, twice as many as the Magic. Harpring returned after missing one game to be with his wife as she gave birth.