Atlanta Hawks: Tired Legs Doom Hawks Against Orlando Magic

Atlanta Hawks, John Collins (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, John Collins (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks had no time to rest after beating the New York Knicks in an epic, two-overtime game on Monday. After the hard-fought win, the Hawks had to jump on a plane to Orlando to face the Magic the very next day.

The Atlanta Hawks faced a very up and down fight against the New York Knicks in Atlanta on Monday. After blowing a big lead, then erasing the Knicks’ first OT lead, the Hawks would eventually prevail over the Knicks in the second overtime. With Orlando the next day, the Hawks would have to back up their epic performance on Monday.

Going against the Magic in Orlando is never easy for the Hawks. Add in the double-overtime win that saw John Collins play 50 minutes, Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and De’Andre Hunter all played 48 minutes in the Knicks victory, and the Hawks were behind the 8-ball before the game even tipped off. However, the Hawks showed a lot of the same effort and fight in Orlando that led them to a win over the Knicks.

The Hawks didn’t show much sign of tired legs in the first half against the Magic. Coach Lloyd Pierce kept the same starting-five of Trae, Huerter, Collins, Hunter, and Damian Jones. Despite four of those guys playing a full-game of basketball the day before, the Hawks showed no sign of wear. After the first half, the Hawks were ahead by 5 points.

It was the second half when the Hawks would start to show some more tired legs, understandably. The Hawks stayed pretty competitive in the third quarter, even maintaining their lead after the third quarter. It was the fourth quarter when all the energy and effort expended the night before would rear its head.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Hawks maintained a slim three-point lead. The Magic would take back the lead early in the fourth, and hold on to the lead for the rest of the game. A moment that particularly sticks out of last night’s fourth-quarter is when Orlando held a 116-115 lead over the Hawks. The Hawks were within striking distance but instead saw the Magic go on an 11-0 run to extend their lead to 127-115 with three and a half minutes left in the game. The Hawks looked gassed and done at that point in the game. The shots stopped dropping and Orlando took the game from the Hawks.

Last night’s game was going to be a difficult task for any team that played a two overtime game the night before. Back-to-backs are always tricky. However, in this back-to-back, the Hawks actually looked as if they were going to steal the game from the Magic. Unfortunately, the team’s legs gave out and they couldn’t hold on to their fourth-quarter lead.