The Orlando Magic only have 11 wins on the season, but they have been a thorn in the side of the Atlanta Hawks, taking two of their first three match-ups. However, the Hawks would get back on track and split the season series against their Southwestern division foe, with a 112-109 victory over the Magic in Orlando on Wednesday night.
Pero Antic made four straight free throws, and the Hawks defense had three straight defensive stops to give the Hawks their 22nd win of the season.
The Hawks would offer an extremely balanced offensive attack, with seven Hawks posted double digit scoring, including all five starters. The Hawks were led by forward Paul Millsap who had a game high 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 3 steals. Jeff Teague added 23 and Kyle Korver had 12. DeMarre Carroll was huge for the Hawks, scoring 17 points on just seven shots including three three-pointers before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a reported hamstring injury. Antic, Mike Scott, and Shelvin Mack would join the double-figure scoring club, all with 10 points.
The Hawks had complete control of the game heading into the fourth quarter. After a Victor Oladipo basket a minute and a half into the quarter, the Hawks went on a 24-4 run which lasted nearly six minutes on the scoreboard. At one point during the run, the Hawks made four three pointers in five possessions. The Hawks would seemed to be in cruise control and were up by a 19 points, a seemingly insurmountable lead.
However, the Magic would make it a ball game. After the Hawks posted a big double-digit lead, the Magic would go on a huge 32-10 run of their own. While the Magic were hot from the field, the Hawks would go ice cold, a three-minute scoreless drought and the Hawks found themselves down 98-92 with five minutes left in the contest. The lead would go back and forth before Antic’s free throws with under a minute to play.
The Hawks lead the league averaging 25.6 assists per game, a quality that has seemingly kept them afloat after the loss of their best player Al Horford. Tonight the Hawks were sharing the ball again, 26 assists on 41 made baskets, along with the balanced attack were the key to the Hawks victory.
Although it was fairly easy to see where the Hawks had success from this evening, it was equally evident to see where they struggled. The Hawks would turn the ball over 17 times which lead to 27 Magic points. Oladipo was the leading scorer for the Magic, matching Milsap’s game high 24 points. The rookie did his damage on just 13 field goal attempts, 8/13 from the field. Oladipo also tacked on 7 points and 7 assists.
Korver extended his record-breaking streak of consecutive games with a three pointer made to 110 with 7:24 left in the first quarter and was 2-5 from beyond the arc in the contest. The Hawks improved to 22-19 and 7-13 on the road while the Magic fell to 11-32. The Hawks next action will take place at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs.