The Atlanta Hawks were back at it Wednesday night when they traveled down to Orlando and the Amway Center to do battle with the new look Magic. The Hawks had a rough game against Brooklyn on Monday and were hoping to turn things around against Aaron Gordon and the Magic.
Atlanta’s inactives for Wednesday’s game once again included Dewayne Dedmon, who has been sidelined with a stress reaction in his left tibia and could be out two-to-three more weeks. Also injured last week was the rookie John Collins who is suffering from a sprained left AC Joint and he is also expected to be out two-to-three weeks. In addition, Mike Muscala has not been practicing of late after continuing his recovery from an ankle injury, but should be cleared to resume practice soon.
In the first quarter, the Hawks came out at a pretty even pace with Orlando but soon fell behind after Aaron Gordon got rolling in the paint. With all the injuries the Hawks have sustained in their frontcourt, Orlando was able to take advantage early but a 4-of-5 start from three-point range kept the Hawks within shouting distance at the end of the first down 31-23.
The second quarter was a complete turnaround for both teams as Orlando could not get anything going inside and the Hawks continued to light it up from deep. DeAndre’ Bembry had a few key sequences on both ends of the floor to change the momentum into the Hawks favor. After a much better defensive quarter in which Orlando only scored 13, the Hawks took the lead into the locker room at 52-44.
The Magic came back with a punch to open up the third period and really started to get their big man Nikola Vucevic involved. For the Hawks it was Dennis Schroder who got the offense under control early in the third and Taurean Prince made a couple of nice shots to help the Hawks get their advantage back, but the Hawks gave up yet another 30-point quarter to the Magic and only took a 79-74 lead into the fourth.
The fourth quarter opened up with a few nice inside baskets from rookie Tyler Cavanaugh but Orlando’s Aaron Gordon came back with some inside buckets of his own. The Hawks and Magic continued to battle to a tie with 6:50 remaining in the game and the game went back and forth all the way down the stretch. The Hawks played some good basketball late and managed to get a three point advantage with under 20 seconds left in the game. Then, with time running down it was Magic point guard D.J. Augustin that hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime after some pretty good defense from the Hawks.
The two teams exchanged blows in Atlanta’s first overtime game of the season, but the story of the night was Orlando’s big advantage inside and they used it in the extra frame. Taurean Prince hit a huge three with under 20 seconds in the overtime to draw the Hawks within two but the Magic knocked down their free throws and the Hawks could not come back from that point forward.
The Hawks will face off with Orlando once again on Saturday back home at Phillips Arena. Stay tuned.