Hawks vs Magic preview: Atlanta looks to overcome road struggles

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks look for their second straight win and a split in the season series when they take on the Orlando Magic Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

Coming into this season, the Atlanta Hawks had dominated the Orlando Magic in recent seasons. In the first meeting the Hawks picked up right where they left off dispatching the Magic at Philips Arena. Orlando won the next two meetings in rather impressive fashion and the Hawks look to overcome their road doldrums and salvage a split in the season series on Wednesday.

Atlanta comes in with a little momentum having handed the Miami Heat a 121-114 loss on Monday. It wasn't the best defensive effort from the Hawks but they got enough stops down the stretch to secure the victory. However, that win came at home where the Atlanta is a crisp 15-6 on the season. The Hawks are just 6-13 on the road and have lost three straight and four of five away from Philips Arena.

"I think going on the road in the NBA really requires that mental, really, toughness, I guess is the best word, to find a way to win and to do all those things that you do well at home," head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "And you may have to do them even better on the road."

The Hawks have found ways to win at home against good teams like the Heat, the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets of late. Now the challenge is garnering some of that success out on the road.

Orlando has proven to be a big challenge for the Hawks this season but they are currently injury riddled and going through an extremely tough stretch. The Magic have lost 11 of their last 12 games including a 101-90 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. They have been without center Nikola Vucevic since January 6 due to a concussion. Vucevic is out indefinitely and had played a big part in both wins over Atlanta.

Without Vucevic, Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn has gone to a small lineup featuring a backcourt of Jameer Nelson and rookie Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris at the forwards along with Glen Davis at center. Orlando was able to snap a 10-game losing streak with that lineup but has struggled for the most part.

Afflalo is averaging 22.7 points and 5.7 assists against the Hawks this season. However, he was held to just 11 points in Tuesday's loss to the Nets.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, January 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

TV: SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM

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