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Hawks vs Magic preview: Atlanta looks to snap season long losing streak against Orlando

The Atlanta Hawks look to snap a three-game losing streak Wednesday night when they face the Orlando Magic.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks look to shake off a season-long three-game losing streak Wednesday night when they travel to Orlando to take on the Magic.

The Hawks lost for the third straight time on Sunday in a blowout loss at home to the San Antonio Spurs. While Atlanta still maintains a commanding lead in the Eastern Conference standings, their recent defensive struggles are starting to raise questions as the team enters the final stretch of the regular season. The Hawks have allowed opponents to score at least 100 points in six of their last eight games. Narrow the scope a bit and they have given up at least 114 (!) in each of the last three.

With two days off following Sunday's loss the focus has been on improving the team's defense. The team has used that time again to focus on an attention to detail in regards to their defense and it will be interesting to see what kind of impact that has in Wednesday's game against the Magic.

Atlanta's defense will get a boost with the potential return of veteran Thabo Sefolosha who has been sidelined since the end of January with a strained calf. Sefolosha was listed as "probable" on the Hawks' injury report for Tuesday and is very likely to see some action against the Magic. His return will give Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer another wing option behind starter DeMarre Carroll.

The Hawks will be without back up forward Mike Scott who is still probably a couple of weeks away from returning from a toe injury. The team is expected to sign forward Austin Daye to a second 10-day contract on Wednesday to give themselves another front court option.

Atlanta won't get a lot of sympathy from Orlando who is also dealing with a rash of injuries. The Magic did get a bit of good news on Tuesday when Tobias Harris returned to practice after missing three games with an ankle injury. Harris is still listed as questionable for Wednesday's game but there is a chance he will be back in the lineup. Channing Frye and Dewayne Dedmon are also listed as questionable. Frye has been battling a flu-like bug while Dedmon has an ankle injury of his own. Evan Fournier didn't practice on Tuesday and looks like he is out for Wednesday's game with a hip injury.

If the Hawks hope to pull out a victory, they will have to do a good job of slowing down Magic rookie point guard Elfrid Payton who has been surging of late. Payton recorded back-to-back triple doubles last week and came up just short in Sunday's loss to Denver.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m. ET

Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

TV: SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM