The Atlanta Hawks hosted the Orlando Magic Saturday night for their 2019-20 home opener following a positive start to the season Thursday when they beat the Detroit Pistons behind 38 points from Trae Young. With that in mind, the home team looked to get off to a 2-0 start.
Lloyd Pierce ran out the same starting lineup as Thursday with Kevin Huerter still on a minute restriction as he works his way back into playing shape coming off a minor knee issue he battled with in training camp and throughout the preseason. Those starters: Trae Young, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Alex Len.
In contrast, Orlando started D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Jonathon Issac and Nikola Vucevic.
The Hawks got off to a 14-9 head start behind Young and Hunter. Young got on the board quickly with ten points in the first four minutes.
De'Andre Hunter is on the board early. pic.twitter.com/022Iaes5rW— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 26, 2019
Atlanta maintained a slim lead through the 4:00 mark, but the Magic slowly crept back in the game, stringing together a stop here and there behind a patient offensive attack. The Magic took a 26-23 lead after a three from Markelle Fultz at the 1:26 mark. The Hawks trailed by one heading into the second, 26-25. Young led Atlanta with ten first-quarter points.
The back-and-forth nature of the first continued in the second quarter. After struggling to generate offense with young off of the floor late in the first, things were back clicking with Young on the floor to start off the second. Despite looking extremely overmatched against Orlando last season and in the lone preseason matchup between the clubs, the Hawks were very competitive on both ends in the first half.
Jabari Parker was cooking in the first half for Atlanta, scoring six points (2-2 from the floor) in nine first-half minutes, looking fresh and active in all areas of the game.
The Hawks carried a two-point lead into the break behind a huge first half from Young. Young had 17 points, six assists, and five rebounds in the first half, fueling the Atlanta offense per usual. Hunter continues to play solid basketball, pouring in six first-half points on a predictably efficient 3-of-4 from the field.
All around it was a solid half for the home team, as the Hawks shot 49 percent with only six turnovers. Fultz, Vucevic, and Fournier led a balanced Magic attack with ten points each heading into the third.
The Hawks started the second on a 9-2 run behind Young, who scored seven of those nine and assisted on the other two points.
✅ gets steal— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 27, 2019
✅ dribbles up the court
✅ pulls from 30 feet pic.twitter.com/WLsv3LJXPd
Orlando clawed back before it got out of reach, tightening up their defense. After a sloppy ending to the third, the Hawks led 77-75 heading to the fourth.
Atlanta got out to a four-point lead before the Magic pushed back with a 10-2 spurt to take the lead inside the 10-minute mark.
The lead continued to go back-and-forth in the opening moments of the final period, with the teams exchanging buckets and trips to the free-throw-line into the middle of the quarter.
Young hit a three to tie the score at 90 before a 4-0 Magic run put them ahead 94-90 under the five-minute mark.
Vince throwin' dimes like it's nothing pic.twitter.com/eCmEqgmgXT— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 27, 2019
After a DeAndre’ Bembry layup, Young hit a floater a few moments later to re-tie the score at 94.
A huge three from Trae to tie it. pic.twitter.com/6zywxXYDgo— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 27, 2019
Bembry split a pair of free-throws after a bucket from Vucevic to make it a one-point game in favor of the Magic with 3:11 to play. Young took the lead back for Atlanta with a bucket with 2:11 to play before Fournier split a pair of free throws to tie the score at 97 with 1:55 remaining. After a pair of defensive stops, the Hawks had the ball, side out, with 1:13 remaining.
Young got right to the rack for a left-hand finish with 1:02 to play, and an ensuing Hawks stop then ridiculous banked-three from Young gave Atlanta a five-point lead with 25.1 to play. Atlanta got yet another stop on the ensuing possession and sealed the victory with free throws.
Offensive rebounds and turnovers were issues for the Hawks in this game, with 18 turnovers committed throughout the evening and 16 offensive boards given up to a big, long Magic team, but the Hawks had enough offensive firepower and defended just well enough down the stretch to get the job done.
Through two games, Trae Young has somehow elevated his game over the last few months of last season. He finished this game with 39 points, 9 assists and seven rebounds to go along with two steals and what continues to be improved play overall on both ends.
This was truly the Trae Young show, as only Huerter and Parker (both scored ten points) were the only other Hawks to reach double-digits in terms of scoring. It was a true team effort, with 12 different Hawks appearing in the game. 11 guys played at least 10 minutes in the contest as Pierce is still working out who is in his long-term rotation.
Fournier led the way for Orlando with 23 points, while Vucevic providing a solid 16 points and 10 rebounds. Fultz looked good off the bench with 12 points (including two made three-pointers) and three assists.
After losing all four matchups with Orlando last year, the Hawks take the first game of the four-game series with the Magic in 2019-20. They’ll retake the court on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers, who project to be one of the league’s premier teams this season.