Atlanta played their last game against a non-playoff team for the rest of the season today going up against fellow lottery team, the Orlando Magic. The Hawks currently hold a tie with the Memphis Grizzlies for the second-worst overall record in the NBA entering play tonight.
The injuries for the Hawks include a laundry list of players, starting with Kent Bazemore, who has now been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Also out for the Hawks was Schröder, who turned his left ankle recently and was ruled out for the season. Antonius Cleveland, who recently inked a multi-season contract with Atlanta, also remains out rehabbing his ankle from surgery he had before the season. Malcolm Delaney and Jaylen Morris were also out with ankle sprains and the remainders of both guys’ seasons are in doubt. However, in some good news, DeAndre’ Bembry was upgraded to probable for today’s game and did play.
The first quarter began slow as both teams shot selection was questionable at best. For the Magic, it was Jonathan Issac and Nikola Vucevic that had the hot hands early on as Orlando played some inside-out basketball attempting to get shots around the rim. The Hawks struggled mightily to score with Tyler Dorsey giving them a momentary bump off the bench to put Atlanta slightly ahead by a score of 21-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Atlanta wasted no time getting back on track offensively in the second quarter as Mike Muscala and Tyler Dorsey continued to heat up from beyond the arc. In fact it seemed like every Hawk on the floor was hitting from downtown as the Magic attempted to get their own outside game rolling through Mario Hezonja and Jonathan Issac. Josh Magette capped the good second quarter for Atlanta with a three point strike of his own that had Atlanta up at the break 56-43.
The Hawks notoriously bad third quarter play continued tonight as the Hawks scoreless stretches in the third routinely reached 2 minutes in-between made shots. The Magic didn’t do much better only scoring 21 points in a quarter both teams would much rather forget. The home team only scored 13 points but that was enough to hold onto a slight advantage going into the final period up 69-64.
Taurean Prince was the steady hand for the Hawks to open the fourth quarter with a pair of nice jump shots to keep Atlanta in control. The Magic made a push early on in the quarter but the points weren’t there for either team. John Collins did have a couple of posterizing dunks early on and was able to pull down a double-double in the end for a standout night. The overall quality of basketball tonight was probably the worst of the whole season as the Hawks continue to limp to the finish line with 5 games remaining. The Hawks were able to take the win but neither team really deserved one.
The Hawks will finish their back-to-back tomorrow with a trip to Miami to face the Heat.