The Hawks were back on the road Thursday night after the trade deadline in Orlando, Florida to face off against the Magic. This is a matchup of basement teams in the Eastern Conference as both the Hawks and Magic are very much in the running to garner the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Atlanta’s inactives for Friday’s game included DeAndre’ Bembry, who sat as he continues his rehab from a “left groin strain” and has been shooting with the team as he nears a return. Tyler Cavanaugh was also inactive due to an ankle injury he suffered in a G-League game last week. Marco Belinelli was the Hawks other inactive, as the team left him behind in Atlanta with trade winds blowing prior to Thursday’s deadline.
Neither team had a spectacular start, but Atlanta scored the first five points of the game. The Magic did respond with a big-time effort to get points in the paint and did so with Bismack Biyombo getting involved. Dennis Schroder paced the Hawks in the first with eight points and Tyler Dorsey was first off, the bench and quickly got involved with five points of his own. Orlando was able to get lots of scoring in the paint and as a result took a 26-23 lead into the second quarter.
I’m sure both teams will want to forget the second quarter ever even happened. The quarter started off on the right foot for Orlando with a mini scoring burst from old friend Shelvin Mack (not to be confused with Sheldon Mac). After about the 8-minute mark of the second neither team could get a basket to save their lives. The game became really bogged down as the Hawks posted a 16-point quarter but not to be outdone the Magic one-upped the Hawks with a 13-point quarter to keep things all square at halftime tied at 39.
The action picked up slightly in the third quarter with Evan Fournier hitting a quick three pointer and making good on a three-point play as well. Orlando continued by getting Mario Hezonja involved with an alley-oop jam. Malcolm Delaney played outstanding in the third with 7 points to go along with some good minutes on defense against Shelvin Mack. Marreese Speights went crazy to finish the quarter bombing in two long three pointers to put Orlando down only one point after three quarters, 70-69.
The good action continued into the fourth quarter as Orlando and Atlanta exchanged shot for shot early in the quarter. The action stalled with under 10 minutes to go as the Hawks began to turn the ball over with Orlando not being able to take advantage in transition.
Taurean Prince had a couple of big shots midway through the fourth to put the Hawks up, but Orlando had an answer for every Hawks run. D.J. Augustin and Evan Fournier were huge for Orlando down the stretch with both hitting huge three pointers and with Fournier playing some nice defense.
With just under a minute remaining, Fournier put the game out of reach on a jumper with some controversy as it seemed Fournier had pushed off on Tyler Dorsey to get open. Orlando really played well against Atlanta, although the Hawks did throw away some opportunities with careless turnovers.
The Hawks will be right back to work tomorrow night against the new look Cavaliers. Join Peachtree Hoops for all your Hawks needs and news.