The Atlanta Hawks overcame a furious Orlando rally and themselves to escape with a 112-109 win and a split in the season series with the Magic.
The Hawks have clearly not been the same team away from Philips Arena and the inconsistency showed on Wednesday night. At times Atlanta put on a clinic offensively but lapses on the defensive end or careless turnovers on offense allowed the Magic to hang around.
Atlanta took a 29-21 lead at the end of the first behind a strong start from Paul Millsap. Atlanta extended its lead in the second before the Magic closed the half with a run and a bad foul by Lou Williams on Jameer Nelson on desperation three point attempt. Nelson converted all three free throws and the Hawks led 60-56 at halftime.
DeMarre Carroll left the game at the 4:21 mark of the first half and was in the locker room with an apparent hamstring injury when the half ended. He started the second half but left the game for good at the 3:49 mark of the third quarter with the Hawks leading 82-66.
Orlando would outscore Atlanta 27-10 over the next eight minutes and took a 93-92 lead with 7:55 remaining in the game. The Magic would lead by as many as many as six points before the Hawks would make another run and save themselves. Pero Antic gave the Hawks back the lead with a pair of free throws 22.8 seconds remaining. Millsap forced a miss from Glen Davis and Antic extended the lead with two more from the line. Jameer Nelson's game tying attempt came up short and Atlanta escaped with a victory.
Millsap turned in another All-Star worthy performance finishing with 24 points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals and five blocks. He made 9-17 shots and was 5-6 from the free throw line. Jeff Teague bounced back from a sub par performance on Monday to finish with 23 points and five rebounds. Carroll was big scoring 17 points in just under 24 minutes to go along with eight boards.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 24 points while Tobias Harris added 19. Nelson finished with 17 and seven assists. Arron Afflalo came in averaging more than 22 points against the Hawks but was held in check finishing with six points on 3-9 shooting. Orlando scored 27 points off of 17 Atlanta turnovers including nine points in the fourth quarter.