ORLANDO, Fla. (TNS) — Orlando’s Terrence Ross and Oklahoma City’s Dennis Schroder put on a show Wednesday night at Amway Center. Unfortunately for the Magic, Schroder rarely missed a chance to score.
The Magic couldn’t keep track of Schroder all night and he lit up the NBA’s best scoring defense for 31 points as the Thunder pulled away from the Magic late for a 120-114 win.
Oklahoma City was clicking as a team, hitting 60.5% of its shots. Schroder made 13 of 18 shots, including 3 of 4 3-pointers.
Ross tried to help the Magic keep pace with a third-quarter flurry of his own, but it wasn’t enough. Ross finished 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-11 3-pointers, and Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 11 rebounds, but the Magic fell to 21-24 this season.
Orlando got a brief scare early in the game when point guard Markelle Fultz left to have his left ring finger X-rayed. After confirming no extensive damage, he returned in the second quarter with taped fingers to support a sprained fourth metatarsal in his left ring finger.
The Magic were having trouble matching the Thunder basket-for-basket until Ross took over in the third quarter.
Ross single-handedly pulled the Magic out of a lull with a third-quarter flurry that saw him score 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting, including 3-of-3 3-pointers. He turned a 15-point Magic deficit into a tied game with 26 seconds left in the third.
Despite another slow start on the offensive end, the Magic were able to keep pace with the Thunder until Oklahoma City pulled away for a 14-point lead early in the second quarter. With Fultz’s return from the locker room, the Magic eventually regrouped and went on a run of their own to pull within 46-42 after an Evan Fournier 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the half.
OKC, however, maintained its strong early scoring pace and had an answer every time Orlando rallied.
Jazz sweep Warriors
SAN FRANCISCO (TNS) — For the first time since 2009, the Golden State Warriors were swept by the Utah Jazz in a 129-96 loss on Wednesday night at Chase Center.
The Jazz completed the four-game sweep in dominant fashion, too, sprinting off to a 14-point lead by the first quarter’s end, sparked by a 13-2 run as the final two minutes approached, and expanding that into a 22-point lead at the half.
“I think we ran into a team that’s playing about as well as they can, and clicking,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “So, we got demoralized in the first half. That was probably the biggest disappointment.”
A handful of Jazz were consistent threats beyond the arc. Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell collected two 3s each. Center Rudy Gobert’s length and size was no match for this iteration of the Warriors. He feasted at the rim for any scraps and had a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) by the half. Gobert finished the game with 22 points and 15 rebounds in 30 minutes.
“He’s a big dude, so you definitely think you might have something and he may affect it because of his length,” the Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell said. “But he’s been dominating the defensive end for years now.”
Led by Gobert, the Jazz were far more aggressive on the boards and in the paint, compiling 54 rebounds to the Warriors’ 35. The Jazz had 40 defensive rebounds to the Warriors’ 24.
“They were making every shot,” Kerr said. “We were missing every shot, so there were a lot more defensive rebounds for them than for us.”
The Jazz shot 55% from the floor and 44% from 3-point range. The Warriors shot 40% and 27% from 3.
Russell finished the game with 26 points in 28 minutes on 10-of-21 shooting.
Draymond Green returned from his finger sprain and struggled on both ends, allowing the Utah defense to completely disregard him beyond the rim.
Green also got his 12th technical foul, four more and he gets a suspension. Green finished the game with five points, two assists and four rebounds.
NEW YORK — After a lifeless loss to the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers showed a similar lack of energy in New York. The Knicks are not the Celtics, though, and what the Lakers produced was enough to come away with a win.
The Lakers improved to 35-9 with a 100-92 victory over the Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks fell to 12-33.
LeBron James had a productive first half, making eight of 10 shots from the field to score 19 points. He finished the game with 21.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points.
The Lakers also got double-digit contributions from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (13 points) and Kyle Kuzma (10 points, seven rebounds).
The Knicks stayed close to the Lakers for most of the game. The score was 48-48 at halftime despite James’ efforts. The Lakers put a little bit of distance between themselves and the Knicks in the third quarter, when the Knicks made only 29.2% of their shots.
The Lakers will remain in New York to play the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday before finishing their road trip in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Pistons crush Kings
DETROIT — With 4:56 remaining in the first quarter Wednesday night, Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey inserted point guard Reggie Jackson into the lineup against the Sacramento Kings.
In his time with the Pistons, Jackson has become a player some fans love to hate.
But Jackson, who missed 42 games with a back injury was greeted with mostly cheers at Little Caesars Arena.
And as is often the case when Jackson is available, the Pistons were winners even with Andre Drummond absent because off a lip laceration.
Jackson scored 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting in helping the Pistons to a 127-106 victory to open a four-game homestand.
Jackson was 3-for-7 from 3-point range, added four assists and was a team-high plus-26 in 19 minutes as the Pistons (17-28) have won three of four.
Derrick Rose continued to start and scored 22 points and had 11 assists. Christian Wood was 7-for-7 from the field in scoring a team-high 23 points.
Seven Pistons scored in double figures.
De’Aaron Fox led the Kings (15-29) with 22 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points off the bench.
Since he was acquired minutes before the 2015 trade deadline, the Pistons have been better when Jackson has been healthy.
The team earned the No. 8 seed in 2015-16 with a 44-38 record with Jackson as the most important offensive player.
He missed significant time with a sore knee the next season and the Pistons finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs.
He suffered a severely sprained ankle during the 2017-18 season and the Pistons finished 39-43 and missed the playoffs. Team president and coach Stan Van Gundy was fired after the season.
Last season, Jackson played all 82 games and the Pistons reached the playoffs with a 41-41 record.
Jackson’s most impressive all-around sequence came late in the first quarter.
He scored a 3-pointer with 32.1 seconds left in the first quarter to cut the Kings’ lead to 26-24.
After a Harry Giles III free throw, Jackson found Wood for a layup to cut the Kings lead to 27-26 with 5.4 seconds left.
Jackson stole the ball from Bogdanovic around half-court and calmly turned and got off a 3-point attempt just before the quarter buzzer, but he missed the 34-footer.
The Pistons were without Blake Griffin (knee), Luke Kennard (both knees) and Tim Frazier (flu) and Bruce Brown (flu). The Kings were missing big men Marvin Bagley III and Richaun Holmes.