Streaking Magic beat Hawks in Atlanta

Streaking Magic beat Hawks in Atlanta

February 11th, 2019 by Associated Press in Sports - Professional

Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross drives past Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre' Bembry during the second half of Sunday night's game in Atlanta. Orlando won 124-108.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — Nikola Vucevic played like an All-Star. Jonathan Isaac turned one possession into his own personal block party. And the Orlando Magic picked off road victories on back-to-back nights for the first time in nearly five years.

Vucevic, who will be making his first All-Star Game appearance next weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Magic to a 124-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night.

Despite getting into Atlanta around 2:40 a.m. after a 20-point victory at East-leading Milwaukee the previous night, Orlando looked like the fresher team by far in recording its third straight victory, matching its best run of the season. The last time the Magic pulled off road wins on consecutive nights was April 3-4, 2014, when they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-90 and the Milwaukee Bucks 97-84.

"We really played well," Vucevic said. "We took the lead and we never looked back."

The Magic began to pull away late in the first half, ripping off an 11-2 run that sent the road team to the locker room at halftime with a 63-48 lead — its biggest of the game to that point. D.J. Augustin finished off the spurt, racing the length of the court after a couple of Atlanta free throws to lay one in with 1.2 seconds left.

Atlanta rookie Trae Young hit a desperation shot from just inside the halfcourt line, but he clearly released the ball after the buzzer. That pretty much epitomized the night for the Hawks, who lost their third straight game at State Farm Arena — and gave up an average of 124 points in those defeats

"Our offense wasn't there too much," Atlanta's Kevin Huerter said. "But I think our biggest problem is on the defensive end."

Orlando kept up the onslaught after halftime, scoring 12 of the first 14 points and pushing the lead as high as 26 points in the third quarter. The Magic led 98-74 at the end of the period, sending plenty of fans to the exits.

Vucevic led seven Orlando players in double figures, including the entire starting five. Isaac and Evan Fournier each had 17 points.

But Isaac really shined at the defensive end — especially during a single possession midway through the second quarter. When John Collins attempted to lay one in from right under the basket, Isaac got a hand on it. Collins snatched the offensive rebound, went up again — and was stuffed again by Isaac.

The Hawks grabbed another offensive rebound, working the ball around the perimeter before going inside a third time to Collins. Yep, same result. Isaac got a hand on the ball for his third block in a span of roughly 10 seconds.

Isaac finished with five blocks.

Orlando came into the night 2 1/2 games behind the Miami Heat for the final playoff spot in the East. The Magic haven't made the playoffs since 2012.

"We're playing for something," Augustin said. "Tonight was all about fighting, fighting through fatigue."

Alex Len led the Hawks with 16 points, despite picking up four fouls in the first half.

The Hawks center bounced back from a rough first half.

First, he managed to pick up four fouls in just less than nine minutes of playing time.

Perhaps more embarrassing for the 7-foot-1 Len, both of those shots were blocked by a pair of 6-9 players. A short jumper was swatted away by Khem Birch and an attempted dunk was stuffed by Aaron Gordon.

Len bounced back in the second half to shoot 4-of-5, including making a pair of 3-pointers, and didn't pick up any additional fouls. Not that it mattered.

Atlanta's starting frontcourt had a rough night. Collins led the way with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while Taurean Prince was held to eight points and Dewayne Dedmon managed only five.

Atlanta was outrebounded 49-33.