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Jazz 87, Magic 81

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY - Al Jefferson scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds before leaving in the final moments with an apparent back injury in the Utah Jazz's 87-81 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Jefferson grabbed a key defensive rebound with a minute and a half remaining when he was hurt after being bumped by Orlando's Nikola Vucevic.

Jefferson immediately grabbed his back, took several steps and then fell to the court in pain as the Jazz called a timeout.

Jefferson, who had just scored two big buckets to help the Jazz squelch an Orlando comeback attempt, was helped to the training room by trainer Gary Briggs and backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley.

Utah held on without Jefferson to improve to 10-10, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Orlando dropped to 7-11 after its two-game Western win streak was brought to an end. The Magic momentarily took a lead at 79-78 with 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter after a Glen Davis dunk capped a turnaround from a 14-point deficit.

Paul Millsap scored 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting.

Davis finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Orlando, which is on a five-game road trip. Jameer Nelson added 17 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Magic, while Arron Afflalo scored 16 points for the visitors.

The Jazz held the Magic to 34 first-half points, a season-low for a Utah opponent.

But Orlando kept chipping away in the second half, using an 8-0 run in the third quarter and a 6-0 spurt in the fourth to make a game of it after trailing by 11 at the half.

Randy Foye missed his first three shots for Utah, but he made a big 3-pointer with 3:13 remaining to give the Jazz the lead for good after Davis' dunk.

Jefferson then hit two straight shots, putting Utah up 85-81 with 1:52 remaining. The Jazz won the game despite only scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Jefferson hit 13 of 20 shots before leaving with back spasms.

NOTES: This was former Jazz guard Jacque Vaughn's first visit to Utah since being hired as the Magic's head coach. "A lot of friendships, relationships, a lot of winning, some really good memories," Vaughn said while looking around his first NBA home. ... Vaughn was drafted by the Jazz in 1997 and played in Utah through 2001. The work ethic of Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone left a lasting impression. "(John) was in line in front of me in every single drill, and Karl was unbelievable." The new coach also holds retired Jazz coach Jerry Sloan in high esteem. Vaughn called him "an unbelievable coach" who taught him to be professional and imprinted one thought in his young mind: "Bring my hard hat every day." ... Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (strained right arch) didn't play for the third straight game and hopes to resume activity by Friday. ... Starting small forward Marvin Williams returned to the lineup for the Jazz after missing three games with concussion-like symptoms.
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