After a disappointing loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Orlando Magic returned home to take on their division rival Atlanta Hawks for the fourth and final time of the season. The Magic, who had won the previous two meetings, fought and clawed all night, but came up agonizingly short once again. Atlanta walked out of the building victorious, beating the struggling Magic 112-109 on Wednesday night.
Atlanta was able to start the game quickly, really controlling the pace and action for much of the first period. The Hawks were able to grab a lead that peaked at nine, and really put pressure on the Magic to keep up with them offensively. Luckily for the Magic, the Hawks had trouble taking care of the ball, turning it over five times, leading to eight Magic points.
The second quarter was much like the first, with Atlanta dictating the play and forcing the Magic to keep up with them. However, unlike in the first, the Magic were able to go blow for blow with the visiting Hawks, keeping the game out of double-digits for much of the quarter. Orlando’s ability to knock down jumpers late paved the way to cutting the lead down to four going into halftime.
Orlando started the third period off with a bang, cutting the lead to one before you could blink. Unfortunately for them, Atlanta knocked down five of their next six shots, including four three-pointers to push the lead to a then game-high 11. Orlando then saw a period of struggle offensively, not scoring for nearly three minutes, allowing the Hawks to push the lead to a game-high 19. Fortunately for the Magic, they were able to close out the third on a 17-6 run to cut the lead down to eight going into the deciding quarter.
The fourth quarter started with the Magic scorching, grabbing their first lead of the game just over four minutes in, thanks to seven quick points from Doron Lamb. Orlando was able to control the game for much of the fourth period. But the Hawks showed good resiliency and fought to grab the lead late. The Magic had a couple of chances late to take the lead or tie the game, but were unable to, allowing the Hawks to pull out a close win.
Atlanta brought forth a balanced scoring attack all night, finishing with seven of nine guys in double figures. Paul Millsap led the charge, finishing tied with a game-high 24 points, while point guard Jeff Teague poured in 23. Forward DeMarre Carroll, who left with a hamstring injury, scored 17 points on an efficient 6-of-7 from the field. Sharp shooter Kyle Korver extended his record three-point streak to 110 games en route to 12 points, while Pero Antic, Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack all chipped in 10 points on the night. Antic added a career-high 12 rebounds, notching his first ever double-double.
For the Magic, rookie guard Victor Oladipo shined for much of the game. After picking up two early fouls, Oladipo poured in 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. Tobias Harris notched yet another double-double, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while point guard Jameer Nelson finished with 17. Doron Lamb and Maurice Harkless finished in double figures, scoring 13 and 12 respectively.
Magic Game Notes
Struggling to find consistent energy in the third quarter, coach Jacque Vaughn turned to a unit full of bench members to help bring the team back. The most notable of the bunch was Doron Lamb, who scored a season-high 13 points on just six shots. His ability to knock down jumpers and play solid one-on-one defense helped the Magic fight their way back into the game. Maurice Harkless also gave the team very good minutes, converting a steal into a key three-point play. The bench, who finished the game against the Nets strongly, needed to get going more for the Magic to have a chance, and these two games could be key in them producing the rest of the season.
Yet again, Victor Oladipo really showed poise and his hard work ethic and continued growth. After picking up two fouls in the opening two minutes, the Indiana product dazzled in the final three quarters. He scored 24 points, seemingly at ease, while getting his teammates involved. He played the entire second half, much of which was spent at point guard, and showed an improvement in his ability to run the offense in half court sets. It was another one of those games that sticks out for the rookie, and he did it relatively quietly. It’s good to see his growth continue, and the best is yet to come with Victor as a member of the Magic.
… on Victor Oladipo:
“He got to the bucket for us tonight and got to the free-throw line. He played with that group that really got us back into the game—high level of energy and get up and down the floor. They made mistakes but that’s a part of the game. I don’t ask any guy to be perfect. The guys played through some mistakes and he was one of the guys that led the charge.”
“Every game I’m prepared to play in the game whether I don’t or I do. So I’m always ready.”
“It’s tough for us to make shots down the stretch. We had some good opportunities, we just couldn’t convert. They made their free throws [at the line] so that was just the name of the game going that way.”
Stat of the Night
Orlando turned 17 Atlanta turnovers into 27 points, compared to 15 and 12 for the Hawks.