Jazz sing the blues after loss to Magic

Boozer scores 29, but Utah loses again

Posted: Thursday, December 09, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - Cuttino Mobley and Steve Francis have been playing basketball with each other long enough to know how to put away a team.

Francis found Mobley for a decisive 3-pointer with about 22 seconds remaining and the Orlando Magic held off Utah 106-100 on Wednesday night, giving the Jazz their longest losing streak in nearly five years.

"Steve and I have been playing together for six years now, so we know where each other is at - especially in the fourth quarter," said Mobley, who scored 26 points and made seven of nine 3-pointers.

"In the fourth quarter, that's when we boogie."

Mobley and Francis, who came over together from Houston in the Tracy McGrady deal last summer, actually had a pretty good boogie going in the third quarter, too. Mobley made five 3-pointers and Francis added another as the Magic made six of seven from beyond the arc.

Orlando took control in the third and held off a late push by the Jazz, who lost their sixth straight for the first time since January 2000.

"We really have a difficult time when things get tough for us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "It's almost a defeatist attitude, but you have to stay with it."

Francis finished with 20 points, Grant Hill scored 18 and Dwight Howard had 17 points and 11 rebounds on his 19th birthday to help the Magic improve to 1-1 on a six-game road trip.

"The good thing about this team is that you have so many weapons, so many guys that are capable," Hill said. "On this team, you've got guys fighting each other for the last shots and that's a good thing."

Carlos Boozer, a 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, led the Jazz with 29 points and 12 rebounds and all five Utah starters scored in double figures. But Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu outscored the Jazz bench by himself 17-16.

Utah led most of the first half and was up 57-55 at halftime, but the Magic shut down the Jazz inside in the second half while hitting nearly everything they put up from outside. Mobley made five 3-pointers in the third and Francis added the other and the Magic took an 86-83 lead into the final period.

Utah tied it twice early in the fourth, but was never able to regain the lead despite a late push that brought the small crowd to a deafening roar.

Mehmet Okur hit a 3-pointer to get the Jazz to 99-98, then pulled down a rebound off a missed layup by Dwight Howard to give Utah a chance at a lead. But the Jazz turned the ball over and Francis used up a few seconds at the top of the key before driving inside and kicking out a pass to Mobley, who hit the 3 from the corner to put Orlando up 102-98 with 22 seconds left.

Boozer got it back to two points and the Jazz fouled Turkoglu, who made both free throws with 18.4 seconds left. Arroyo rushed a 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim. The Jazz got the rebound, but Snyder missed another 3.

Matt Harpring scored 16, Okur finished with 15 points and seven rebounds and Carlos Arroyo added 14 points and nine assists. Raja Bell finished with 10 points, but rookie Kris Humphries was Utah's leading scorer off the bench with just seven points.

"Who's going to fight through it now is going to tell us a lot about our future," Sloan said.

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