Orlando Magic strong second half proved to be too much for the Atlanta Hawks as the Magic defeat the Hawks by the final score of 105-86.
The action went back and forth in the first half starting with the Magic who started the game on a 17-10 start. Then the hawks came out of a timeout halfway through the first and finished the quarter on a 9-5 that included a 7-0 run to finish the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Hawks continued their success since halfway through the first and got their first lead of the game with nine minutes left in the second quarter which capped off a 19-10 run. They also had the lead up to nine at one point with a little over five minutes left in the half.
Then the Magic turned it around and went on a big 17-5 run to end the half that was sparked by Nikola Vucevic had a putback dunk plus the foul. They also got Dwight Howard into foul trouble as he had four fouls in the first half alone. Orlando Magic head Coach Frank Vogel on if Vucevic’s play was the spark for their turnaround in the second quarter.
“Yeah because they were going on a run,” Vogel said. “We battle to give in all year with this group. When a team makes a run, it sends it to snowball and I think that was a big play. There were several plays in that second quarter when their bench came in that second quarter and we were able to catch ourselves so that was one of the plays where we stopped the momentum.”
In the second half, the Magic took off as they started the half on a 20-9 run. The Hawks had no answer as the Magic continued to go off in the third quarter. The Magic had a 21 point lead at one point. Also in the third, Aaron Gordon jumped out of the gym and posturized Ersan IIyasova to get the crowd going nuts. That was the beginning of the end for the Hawks.
Terrence Ross looked more comfortable in his second games as a member of the Orlando Magic as he had 11 points in the first half, 24 for the game and he was taking better shots and was shooting the ball better as well as he shot 10-15 for the game. Coach Vogel on how Ross was more comfortable in this game and the type of player that he is.
“First of all, it’s clear after two games and a couple of practices, Terrence Ross is a good basketball player,” Vogel said. “We’re excited about adding him to our team and just does a variety of things well. Starting with having speed and athleticism on the defensive end and the ability to shoot the basketball from range and attack long close-outs and make plays off the bounce. Whether it’s a dump off a play off the rim or the pull-up jump shots that you were seeing him make tonight, he’s a good basketball player on both ends and he was great tonight and a big reason why we got the W, so we’re excited to have him.”
Another player that played a key role in the Magic’s win tonight was Elfrid Payton. Payton scored 15 points, nine assists, and only one turnover. Coach Vogel on how pleased he was on Payton not turning the ball over and running the offense efficiently.
“I’m really proud of the kid,” Vogel said. “Starting from the fact that he was 9-10 from the free throw line which was a great performance there. He stepped up tonight. He brought a lot of great effort on the defensive end and what we’re trying to get him to get back to his really being a great decision maker in the lane. He has a tendency to get the ball stripped and get the ball blocked but when he gets into the paint, and recognizes his traffic, and see his perimeter shooters like you see tonight, that’s where you see the nine assists and one turnover.”
Other standout performances from the Magic in this game was Vucevic who had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Gordon who had 18 points and looked as if he was back to 100% as he was able to take flight put in some big dunks in this game.
With this win, the Magic move to 22-38 on the season. They will have a decent break coming up as the Magic won’t have to play until Wednesday night when the New York Knicks and all their drama comes to town.