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Hawks inch by Magic 126-125 behind Murray’s late free throws

The Hawks were energized by the return of two of their stars on Monday night in a thrilling win.

Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks hosted the Orlando Magic on Monday evening, picking up a narrow 126-125 win despite a late surge from the visitors. The Hawks put a solid performance on offense for the second straight contest after picking up a win Friday evening on the road vs. the Charlotte Hornets.

John Collins and Dejounte Murray each made their return to the lineup after extended absences due to their respective left ankle sprains. Collins drew the start at center as Clint Capela remains out with a calf strain.

The Hawks got out to a hot start offensively, scoring 34 points in the first quarter. De’Andre Hunter had 12 points and hit three three-pointers in the opening period, leading all scorers as Atlanta carried a seven-point lead into the second.

The Hawks were poor on defense in the second, however, allowing 38 points to Orlando while seeing their lead trimmed down to just three points heading into the half. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray combined for 17 points in the second quarter to carry the Atlanta offense.

Young posted a first-half double-double of 15 points and ten assists as the Hawks led 68-65 heading into the locker room, while Collins and Hunter each had 12 points in the half. Markelle Fultz tallied 16 points in the opening two quarters, leading all scorers at the break.

Atlanta bounced back in the third, scoring 36 points and extending their lead back to double-digits at 104-94 heading to the fourth quarter. Young got hot, scoring 17 points in just the third quarter alone.

AJ Griffin was excellent in this game, scoring 19 points off the bench to go along with seven rebounds. He had a little hot stretch of his own in the second half, and played a really efficient game overall.

The Hawks lead for nearly all of the fourth, and held a 124-112 margin with 3:03 remaining. But Orlando would fight back and trailed by just one inside the final minute behind a quick 11-0 run.

The Magic had a chance to win the game or take the lead with the ball out of a timeout with 8.7 seconds remaining. Markelle Fultz drove the floor into the lane and hit a reverse layup to put the Magic up 125-124 with 3.8 seconds to go, extending the closing run to 13-0.

On the ensuing Hawks possession, Murray drew a foul and hit both free throws, sealing the narrow win for Atlanta. Murray finished with 17 points and five rebounds in his return from injury, while Young led the way with 37 points and 13 assists in the win. Fultz led Orlando with 24 points and nine assists in the loss.

The Hawks will look to build on another evening of positive momentum on Wednesday when they host the Chicago Bulls.

Stay tuned.