“I just wanted to be aggressive. They gave me some opportunities to get down the lane and make things happen and I took those,” said Williams, who scored a season-high 32 points to help the Utah Jazz beat Orlando 117-105 on Friday night, the highest total the slumping Magic have allowed all season.
“I felt good. I moved around and they were in a zone, which allowed me to see the open shots,” Miles said after the highest-scoring fourth quarter this season by a Jazz player.
“I just think we let them take it to us, instead of taking it to them,” Nelson said.
Pushing the ball against the weary Magic in the third quarter, Williams scored 16 points in the period as the Jazz opened a commanding lead.
“Deron Williams took a close game and took it over in the second half. He dominated us,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said.
After Bass made two free throws to trim it to 71-67, Williams sparked an 11-2 run that ended with his pass to Kirilenko for a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 82-69 with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
In Utah’s 35-point fourth quarter, Miles answered each Orlando push with clutch baskets. Then when the Magic converted five straight offensive possessions into points for the first time, Williams and Kirilenko kept pace with a pair of long jumpers.
“We’ve been working on shooting the 3 since we’ve struggled of late. But we got confident today. Going against the zone, we knew we had to make some shots to be successful,” Williams said after the Jazz went 10 of 16 from beyond the arc.
The Magic finally whittled the lead to 109-102 on Nelson’s 3, but Kirilenko made a jumper and a fast-break dunk to bury the Magic with 1:56 to play.
Orlando came in yielding a league-low 91.1 points and the most an opponent had previously scored on the Magic was in a 110-106 loss to Toronto on Nov. 12.
“It reminded me of the difference between us and Boston last year in the playoffs. They’re willing to make the extra pass, and we’re not,” Van Gundy said.
Kirilenko is nursing a strained right quadriceps and was questionable before the game, but seemed to be everywhere with 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.
One night after scoring 39 in Orlando’s 97-83 loss to Portland, Dwight Howard(notes) had 12 rebounds but scored just 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting and had at least three of his shots blocked by the Jazz.
“Our big guys did a great job. They didn’t let him get those quick layups and held him until help arrived. We double-teamed and tried to avoid those positions where he’s one-on-one with our big guys,” Kirilenko said.
Howard thinks the Magic may be overreacting.
“Everyone needs to calm down, that’s it. You are going to lose games,” Howard said. “When all we talk about is the losing, then we’re going to keep on losing.”
Though both teams are leaders in field goal percentage defense, each shot over 50 percent in the first half and Millsap’s 20 points led to a 58-57 Jazz advantage at the break.
“Today was just a great team victory. In the first half, it was Paul. In the second half CJ came on and I got going a little bit. We are just a balanced team and tonight was a testament to that,” Williams said.
The Jazz shot nearly 54 percent and outscored the Magic 18-5 on fast breaks. Though the Magic had a 41-34 rebounding edge, Utah tied a season high with 10 3-pointers, a mark it set at Portland on Nov. 20.
Notes: Rookie Gordon Hayward(notes), who was the ninth overall pick in the draft out of Butler, made his second career start in place of Raja Bell(notes) (strained right adductor) but went scoreless in 18 minutes. Center Kyrylo Fesenko(notes) was out with a sprained left ankle and Magic forward Ryan Anderson(notes) missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right foot. After the Jazz mascot, Bear, was presented with an award in between quarters, Howard gave him an impromptu hug to the delight of the crowd.