Maurice Evans shoots against in the Magic's 121-105 win over the Hawks on Tuesday night. Evans scored a career-high 27 points to help the Magic win for their first win it Atlanta in their past six visits.
Photo by Gregory Smith, the Associated Press
From my preview of this game yesterday...
So yes indeed, our guys need to have their focus at the foul-line tonight if they hope to earn their 51st victory of the season. They'll also have to find some way to stop Joe Johnson, whose scoring output has increased (24, 27, 34) in each game against the Magic. Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans have their work cut out for them.
So, how'd that work out? We shot 72% from the foul line and held Joe Johnson to 10 points, only 2 in the second half. Maurice Evans nearly tripled Johnson's output, with a career-high 27 points, and 15 in the third quarter alone, helping the Magic turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 9-point advantage after three periods. Kudos also to Jameer Nelson, who scored 7 of his 14 points in the period.
We needed Evans' hot shooting tonight. Dwight Howard couldn't get anything going offensively, and didn't seem too engaged in the action. He finished with 13 rebounds, but easily could have snagged 3 more had he not simply given up on them. He also seemed frustrated that the Hawks were allowed to hack him with impunity. That's fine, though. The officials let him get away with some, uh, extracurricular contact also.
It really is hard to complain about this win. The Hawks used a 14-1 run at the start of the second quarter to take control of the game, and at halftime it looked as though we were headed toward our 31st loss of the season. Fortunately, our starters were motivated in the third quarter, asserted themselves, and retook the lead. As a result, Stan Van Gundy was able to empty the bench in the fourth quarter: J.J. Redick scored 11 points on 6 shots and Keyon Dooling dished 7 assists in the period, finishing with 9 on the game. The only non-rotation player not to see action in the fourth was James Augustine, who didn't make the most of his four first-half minutes. Pat Garrity got the call instead.
Be sure to check out Brian Schmitz's recap at the Orlando Sentinel, which sheds some light on the Magic's free-agent preferences this summer. You might be surprised by what team president Bob Vander Weide thinks about Jameer Nelson.
So the Magic won and managed to rest their starters. SUCCESS. Let's see if they can do the same in the season finale against Washington this evening.