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Second half burns Hawks in 130-120 home loss to Magic

Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With four home games in six days, the Atlanta Hawks face the opportunity to build positive momentum for the stretch run of the 2019-20 season. The first contest didn’t end in favorable fashion, however, with the Hawks falling to the Orlando Magic by a 130-120 final score on Wednesday evening.

The opening minutes were a bit sloppy for both teams, but the Hawks inched to an 11-6 lead. In general, it was an uneventful start, but Trae Young made waves when he rose up to block the shot of 7-footer Mo Bamba at the rim.

Atlanta took a four-point lead into the second quarter, shooting the ball well and protecting the ball with only two turnovers in the first period. In short order, the lead stretched to six on the first possession of the second quarter.

Orlando did respond from there, however, using a 14-4 run to take their largest lead at 45-37. With the exception of Cam Reddish, Atlanta’s bench was woefully ineffective, but Young left his mark on the first half with an utter explosion down the stretch of the second quarter.

The All-Star guard scored 11 points in less than two minutes (1:50 to be exact) and that push helped the Hawks to stabilize on the scoreboard.

Young wasn’t done there, staying hot all the way to the end of the half.

Young scored 20 points — on 6 of 9 shooting, 3 of 4 from three and 5 of 5 from the free throw line — in the second quarter, and he did so in only eight minutes of court time. That helped the Hawks to post impressive offensive numbers before halftime and, even with some less than stellar defense, Atlanta managed to tie the game at 64-64 with 24 minutes to play.

To open the third quarter, the Hawks buried a trio of three-pointers, with Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter connecting from deep. When the dust settled, Atlanta had their largest lead of the night at 75-68 and Orlando needed a timeout.

Most of the third quarter was rough, though, with Orlando using an 11-0 run to take control. Overall, the Magic outscored the Hawks by a 29-9 margin over an extended period, taking a 13-point lead late in the quarter. Fortunately, Huerter produced four points — with the help of a steal from Cam Reddish — in the final ten seconds to slash the margin to eight points as the fourth quarter arrived.

Atlanta’s positive fortune continued to start the fourth quarter, mounting a 10-2 overall run (combined with the end of the third quarter) to climb within a four-point deficit. From there, though, the Hawks stalled a bit on offense and a big stretch from Orlando’s Evan Fournier placed the home team in a double-digit hole with less than four minutes remaining.

The Hawks never recovered from there on the way to a 10-point final margin that was a bit larger than the game’s flow indicated.

Young led the way for Atlanta, scoring 37 points and dishing out 11 assists on a night in which offense certainly wasn’t the problem for the Hawks. He was flanked by strong nights from Collins (26 points, seven rebounds) and Reddish (14 points), but the defense let Atlanta down in a winnable match-up.

The Hawks will remain in Atlanta following Wednesday’s game, with a home back-to-back set to begin on Friday with a match-up against the Brooklyn Nets.

Stay tuned.