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Hawks fizzle in 122-103 loss to Magic on MLK Day

The first quarter was encouraging. The rest wasn’t great.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks continued an annual tradition of hosting a game on MLK Day and, after the first quarter, things looked promising with regard to the team’s potential to close a four-game homestand with a victory. However, the Orlando Magic flipped the script from that point forward and the Hawks fell by a final score of 122-103.

Just before tip-off, word broke that Kevin Huerter would miss the game with a sore neck and that placed Atlanta behind the eight-ball, especially with Kent Bazemore already on the shelf with injury. However, the early going belonged to Atlanta, as the home team used an 8-0 run to take a 12-5 lead on the strength of strong work from Dewayne Dedmon, Trae Young and John Collins.

Atlanta led by as many as nine points in the opening period but the Magic did mount a run, climbing back within striking distance. Orlando’s positive work came against the bench for the Hawks but, all told, Atlanta shot 52 percent in the opening frame and that was good enough to take a three-point lead into the second period.

The starters returned to the floor (with Taurean Prince in place of the injured Huerter) to begin the second quarter and that helped to stabilize matters. In particular, Young enjoyed a nice stretch with five points and a gorgeous assist in the first three minutes.

The Magic did not allow the Hawks to run away and hide, however, scoring 10 points in an 81-second span to take the lead and putting together a 12-0 overall run. Fortunately for Lloyd Pierce’s team, Jeremy Lin dialed in down the stretch of the first half, scoring the final seven points for the Hawks and bringing the team within only a three-point margin at the break.

The start to the second half was not as kind as the end of the first, though DeAndre’ Bembry did enjoy a nice moment in the early going.

After a bit of back and forth to open the half, the Magic asserted control, going on an 8-2 run to take an 11-point lead. To their credit, however, the Hawks did a solid job of punching back, with Dedmon knocking down back-to-back threes to key a spurt of eight straight points.

Orlando bounced back with another run of their own, though, outscoring Atlanta by a 13-5 margin (in short order) to reclaim a double-digit edge. By the time the third quarter came to close, the Magic led by 13 (after shooting 59 percent in the period) and the Hawks were firmly on the ropes.

The home team did threaten (at least moderately so) on a few occasions in climbing within striking distance, including a three from Tyler Dorsey to slash Orlando’s lead to seven with 6:28 to go.

Still, the major run failed to materialize and the Magic held a rather comfortable advantage for the vast majority of the fourth quarter. In the end, the Hawks dropped a second straight tilt and, this time, the final margin was 19 points.

Dedmon enjoyed a monster day at the office, knocking down five threes on the way to 24 points and nine rebounds. Elsewhere, Collins (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Young (21 points, six assists) were productive and both Lin (15 points on 5 of 9 shooting) and Bembry (11 points, seven assists, four steals, two blocks) contributed at a high level.

On the heels of four consecutive home games, the Hawks will now hit the road for an extended seven-game trip that begins on Wednesday in Chicago. Stay tuned.