Utah weathers some early hot shooting from Orlando for overtime win, step toward playoffs.
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The Jazz said it all season. Don't underestimate us. Don't count us out. Don't stop believing just because we're down.
Who doesn't believe in Utah now?
The Jazz rallied from a 12-point late third-quarter deficit, fought for overtime, then outshot the Orlando Magic for a 117-107 OT victory Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena before a crowd of 19,580.
With the win, Utah (34-30) moved one victory away from making the postseason for the first time since 2010.
If the Jazz shut down Phoenix on Tuesday at ESA, Utah will erase the Suns' potential playoff tiebreaker and automatically qualify for the postseason.
Saturday's come-from-behind victory also guaranteed a winning season for the Jazz, who went just 39-43 during 2010-11. Utah has had only two losing campaigns in the past 29 years, highlighting a turnaround for the small-market franchise that started during the 1983-84 season under then-coach Frank Layden.
"We survived," said Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who drained a game-changing 3-pointer with 1 minute and 38 seconds left in OT that made it 110-105 Utah.
"They knocked down a lot of shots early. … But we were able to come through late and get stops when we needed to and get the win."
The Jazz outscored the Magic 16-6 in the extra period. Five Utah players recorded points during OT. And critical 3s by Hayward and Devin Harris erased the Magic's perimeter-based attack, which saw a height-challenged Orlando club fire up 38 overall 3s and connect on 39.5 percent of them.
"That's how they play, and we knew that going into the game," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Al Jefferson and Harris scored a team-high 21 points apiece to lead the Jazz, while Derrick Favors added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Jameer Nelson's game-high 23 points topped the Magic (36-27), who were outscored 62-36 in the paint while playing without All-NBA center Dwight Howard and starting power forward Hedo Turkoglu.
Orlando's Stan Van Gundy said backup center Daniel Orton gave his team "nothing," and the Magic coach lamented his squad's inability to control a diverse Jazz offense that captured the contest by going big with Paul Millsap at small forward.
"We just cannot guard; we cannot," Van Gundy said. "I don't think it is that our guys are not trying. I don't know what it is. But we cannot guard anyone. … Our defense is disturbing, to say the least."
Utah again proved itself as a legitimate playoff contender. And with the Jazz having picked up recent crucial victories against Houston, Dallas in triple overtime and Orlando, Utah is just one win away from returning to the playoffs.
"The guys are doing a great job," Corbin said. "They'll do whatever it takes to give themselves a chance to win. If playing extra quarters is what it takes, that's what we're going to give. It just shows the great character that this group of guys has."
The Magic burned Utah for a 13-0 run in just 2:28 midway through the third quarter, and a 3 by Ryan Anderson made it 81-69 Orlando.
The Jazz fought back by going big while the Magic started settling for 3s, and Utah used a sharp 12-2 blitz to pull within 83-81 heading into the final period.
A Harris-to-Favors slam made it 99-98 Jazz. But Anderson drilled another 3 to give Orlando a 101-99 lead with 1:12 to go.
A Millsap putback dunk that would have tied the game at 101 and sent the forward to the line for a possible three-point play was ruled off. But Jefferson answered, stepping up and drilling a 12-foot jumper with 21.4 remaining.
A 25-foot 3 attempted by Nelson at the top of the key as regulation expired was then stuffed by Harris, who slammed the ball into the hardwood immediately after the buzzer.
Briefly • Ex-Jazz coach Jerry Sloan attended the game. It marked the first time Sloan watched a Utah contest in person since he resigned Feb. 10, 2011. … Jamaal Tinsley recorded the 3,000th assist of his career with 8:46 left in the second quarter.
The Tribune's Steve Luhm contributed reporting.
Storylines Jazz 8th in Western Conference
R In short • The Jazz fight back to down the Orlando Magic 117-107 in overtime on Saturday.
Key stat • Utah's bench outscores Orlando 39-10.
Key moment • Gordon Hayward and Devin Harris sink long-range 3-pointers in OT.