Orlando had seven players reach double-figure scoring, including
all five starters, led by Arron Afflalo's 21 points. The Magic shot
55.4 percent (41 of 74) against the Hawks and had assists on 30 of
the 41 baskets.
"That is impressive," Afflalo said. "It means we're trusting each
other. Everybody is being aggressive and being aggressive with the
right intent. When we play like that, we can be competitive on a
night-in, night-out basis with anybody."
Forward Tobias Harris had 17 points, center Nik Vucevic had another
double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds and forward Glen Davis
added 16 points as Orlando won consecutive games for the first time
in more than a month.
The number that got everyone's attention, however, was the assist
total. Point guards Jameer Nelson and his backup, Victor Oladipo,
had eight apiece. Afflalo had seven. The passing was so good that
there was only a handful of times in the whole game that the Magic
took a bad shot.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was especially happy with Oladipo, who was
coming off a 16-point, 11-assist game in the win over the Detroit
Pistons Friday. He had 15 points and five rebounds to go with his
eight assists against Atlanta.
"In different stretches of the game, you got the sense from him, a
pulse that he wants to do something special," Vaughn said of his
rookie point guard. "The challenge for him is to have special
moments throughout the night, but continue to be solid the rest of
the game. He's impressive and he's impressive and he's just
Atlanta, meanwhile, had a double hangover to deal with coming into
the game: The Hawks looked tired at times after having played three
straight overtime games. Making matters worse, they were without
their best player, Al Horford, who is out for the season with a
pectoral muscle injury.
Atlanta, already an undersized team, tried to compensate by
launching 3-point attempts on as many possessions as it could find
one. The Hawks were a respectable 15 of 39 from behind the arc for
the game, but hit only three of 13 in the fourth quarter when they
had a chance to sneak away with a win.
"We had a chance at the end, which is all you can ask when you're on
the road," said guard Jeff Teague, who had 22 points and eight
assists. "But the legs caught up with us at the end. We shot the
ball well most of the game, but you could tell fatigue caught up to
us at the end. Everything was short. We had some looks that guys
normally knock down, but we couldn't get the ball to the basket."
Guard Lou Williams had 18 points for Atlanta and forward Paul
Millsap had 17 points and led the team with seven rebounds. Guard
Sheldon Mack scored 14 off the bench, including four of seven
"It was one of those nights where we just couldn't get over the
hump," Williams said. "We ended up taking the lead by one point (in
the fourth quarter), then gave up eight straight points. You have to
give credit where credit is due. Orlando played well and we could
not match their energy at the end."
Atlanta was playing catch-up the entire game, but when guard Dennis
Schroder opened the final period with a conventional 3-point play on
Atlanta's next possession, the Hawks finally went ahead 80-79 with
10:23 left in the game.
[to top of second column]
The Magic did not regain control until three Atlanta
turnovers fueled a 9-0 run for the Magic that was capped by
Nelson's 3-pointer and a tip-in by Vucevic that made it 93-85
with 5:08 left in the game.
Atlanta ran out of 3-point magic from there, getting only two
more treys and never getting the deficit under six the last five
minutes of the game.
The Magic got off to a great start offensively, but had trouble
chasing down Atlanta's perimeter shooters and had to settle for
a 56-49 halftime advantage.
Orlando was 11-of-20 in the first quarter (55 percent) and
limited the Hawks to 31.6 percent shooting (7-of-22), but four
of those field goals were 3-pointers and Atlanta trailed just
26-20 at the end of the quarter.
Forward Maurice Harkless came on in the second period and helped
the Magic pick up the pace at both ends of the floor. Harkless
scored seven straight points in one stretch and had 11 in the
quarter as Orlando took advantage of long rebounds to run up 14
fast-break points and pull away to a 50-36 lead with three
minutes left in the half.
Unfazed, Atlanta kept firing from behind the 3-point line,
finishing the half with three straight bombs to cut the deficit
to seven by halftime. The Hawks were 9-of-19 from 3-point
territory for the half.
It was more of the same in the third quarter with the Magic
trying to slip away by using its size advantage to get easy
baskets inside. But the Hawks kept reeling them back in with
bombs from the perimeter.
The Hawks scored the first two baskets of the third period to
cut the deficit to 56-53, then withstood a steady parade of
layups and free throws by the Magic before guard Sheldon Mack
nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to close the period and pull
Atlanta within 79-76.
NOTES: Atlanta has been red-hot offensively the last seven
games, averaging 118 points, while shooting 50.7 percent (309 of
610) from the field. The Hawks also are averaging 31 assists a
game during that stretch. ... The Magic had lost 11 straight to
Atlanta before beating the Hawks 109-92 on Nov. 26. ... Atlanta
played three straight overtime games before meeting Orlando. The
Hawks were 2-1, including a double OT win over Cleveland. ...
The Magic clearly would like rookie Victor Oladipo to be a point
guard, but have limited his time there the last month because of
turnovers. Oladipo has 93 giveaways this season, 25 more than
anyone else on the team. He could see more time out front if he
has more nights like he did Friday against Detroit when he
scored 16 points, had 11 assists and only one turnover in 37
minutes. "There is no time frame for it," Magic coach Jacque
Vaughn said about committing Oladipo to point guard full-time.
"We're trying to get him better in a lot areas. Part of that is
shot recognition and how defenses are going to play him."
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