After a corner three-pointer by Arron Afflalo gave Orlando a one-point lead with 3:50 to go, Atlanta rattled off 10 straight points to wrest control of the game from the visitors, who have not won at Philips Arena since Owl City topped the charts. Afflalo led all scorers with 21 points and added seven assists, but once again the Magic didn't give him enough help offensively, though Jason Maxiell offered 12 points in the hoops equivalent of finding a $20 bill in the washing machine.
Nik Vučević, usually a reliable double-double threat, struggled against Atlanta. He showed acuity as a passer, with four assists, but struggled with Al Horford's aggressive and physical defense in the paint: he finished with a rare single-single, with seven points and six boards in 34 minutes.
On the second night of a back-to-back and in a hostile environment, the Magic did show some remarkable resiliency: after falling behind by 17 points in the third quarter, Orlando closed the period on a 24-8 run to close to within a point of Atlanta. Victor Oladipo hit a three-pointer near the end of the period which would have given Orlando a two-point lead, but after video review, the officials correctly ruled that he did not release the shot before the expiration of the 24-second clock. The rookie finished the night with five points on 2-of-8 shooting, with three turnovers and two of his shots blocked. His quick first step will eventually become an asset at this level, but for now he appears to just get himself into trouble with it.
The Magic had made their mark defensively in their 3-3 start to the season, but fared poorly at that end Saturday in Atlanta: the Hawks shot 47.8 percent from the floor, but that figure includes the 0-of-8 performance from rookie point guard Dennis Schröder off the bench. The role-playing duo of DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott combined for 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting; on the season, the pair average 13.4 points on 35.6 percent shooting between them.
Orlando might be able to live with the Hawks' role players popping off if it managed to contain their top-line stars, but the Magic didn't succeed there either. Horford scored 15 points on 50 percent shooting--including a pair of 18-footers in the final four minutes to put the Hawks up three--while Paul Millsap scored 18 with 11 rebounds and four assists.
Credit the Magic for hanging around on the road, but they simply didn't do quite enough to pick up the victory.