Fewer than 24 hours after finishing off a victory in Miami, the Atlanta Hawks took the court against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Wednesday. The matchup was the first between the Southeast Division foes this season and, in addition, it was the final game of the first half for the Hawks. Atlanta trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half but, after a furious comeback, the Hawks enter the All-Star break with a 115-112 victory.
Atlanta came out of the gate in sluggish fashion, struggling in rim protection in the absence of Clint Capela. Capela missed the game as a result of right foot pain and, when the shaky resistance was combined with a rough shooting start, the Hawks trailed 15-5.
Following a timeout, the Hawks did get it going with five quick points from Trae Young, including something of a gift from Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams.
Trae found this one like a mint on his pillow. pic.twitter.com/YqRPh6XRRI— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 4, 2021
Young scored 10 of the first 20 points for the Hawks and enjoyed a hot start as a scorer.
Aside from Young’s offense, though, there wasn’t much to speak of in a positive manner from the first half.
Orlando used a 10-2 run to take a 27-14 lead and, while Atlanta did score the next nine points, the Magic returned serve with a 7-0 run of their own. After 12 minutes, the Magic had 39 points, representing nearly half of the point total the Hawks allowed for the full game in Miami on Tuesday.
Atlanta’s defense did stiffen in the second quarter, holding the Magic to just 40 percent shooting and 22 points, but the deficit still grew. The Hawks flailed offensively, particularly with the second unit on the floor early in the period, and the visitors trailed by 19 at the half. Atlanta shot just 7-of-21 from the floor and 1-of-9 from the floor in the second quarter, scoring 17 points and earning the significant deficit they accrued.
After a woeful first half, the Hawks did show life at the outset of the third quarter. Atlanta put together an 11-3 spurt on the back of three triples and two free throws, cutting the margin to 64-53.
They weren’t done there, quickly scoring eight more points in a row and stretching the run to 19-5 overall.
That push saw the Hawks climb within five points at 66-61, but the Magic were able to reclaim control. Orlando zoomed to an 11-2 run to go back up by 16 and, at one point late in the third quarter, the home team led by 18 points. After a late three-pointer by Danilo Gallinari, though, the Hawks were within 12 at the end of three quarters.
Then, the second unit gave Atlanta a significant push, starting the fourth quarter on a 10-4 spurt.
After that initial run, the Hawks let the Magic push back to the point where Orlando led by 16 points with six minutes to go. From that point forward, however, Atlanta was scalding hot, making seven (!!!) three-pointers in the last six minutes to pull off the comeback.
The first four three-pointers came from Collins, Gallinari, Snell and Huerter in succession, cutting the deficit to 106-102.
Orlando didn’t fade entirely, winning a challenge at the 3:28 mark that produced free throws and gave the Magic a six-point lead again. John Collins then missed a three-pointer but, after a big offensive rebound by Kevin Huerter, Young converted another triple to get the Hawks within three.
The Magic led again by five points in the final two minutes, but Young knocked down the sixth three-pointer (after an inexplicable breakdown by Orlando’s defense), and Snell made the seventh for the lead at 111-110. Orlando did score to retake the lead but, when Young made free throws with eight seconds left, Atlanta pushed ahead by a 113-112 margin and the Hawks got the stop they needed to preserve the win.
In the end, Atlanta from 90 points to 111 points entirely on there-pointers and, in the fourth quarter, the Hawks were 9-of-13 from long distance. For the game, the visitors made 21 three-pointers, and that was the difference in the end.
Individually, Young led the way with 32 points and eight assists, including big moments in the clutch. Gallinari also played at a high level, scoring 23 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out six assists. Collins added 15 points and nine rebounds, with Snell and Huerter making a trio of three-pointers each.
Following Wednesday’s tilt, the Hawks will have several days off for the All-Star break. Atlanta’s next regular season game is scheduled for Thursday, Mar. 11 in Tampa against the Toronto Raptors.