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Magic 109, Hawks 102: Orlando holds off three-happy Atlanta

The Magic picked up their second straight win Sunday despite yielding 14 threes to the Hawks.

Jameer Nelson, Louis Williams, and Glen Davis
Jameer Nelson, Louis Williams, and Glen Davis
David Manning - USA Today Sports

The Orlando Magic earned their second consecutive win on Sunday, powering past the hot-shooting Atlanta Hawks by a 109-102 final with some timely late shooting of their own: Orlando shot 4-of-7 on threes in the fourth quarter, holding off the Hawks' rally.

Arron Afflalo scored 20 points to lead seven Magic players in double-figures, and Nik Vučević scored 16 points and hauled in 14 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season.

Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Atlanta stayed in the game despite a poor overall field-goal percentage thanks to its 15-of-39 (38.5 percent) mark on three-pointers.

To no one's surprise, the Magic opened the game trying to exploit Afflalo's size advantage over Louis Williams on the low post. The Hawks countered by sending help defenders at Afflalo on each of his post touches, and the Magic couldn't reverse the ball quickly enough to find the seam in Atlanta's defense. The Magic then relied more heavily on pick-and-roll action to generate shot attempts, and that approach paid dividends: they shot 55 percent in the first period, with Glen Davis and Vučević scored seven and six, respectively, against the Hawks' undersized front line.

Atlanta opened the game shooting 31.8 percent in the first period, and as Orlando packed the paint, it struggled to create open shots near the rim. Nonetheless, the Hawks trailed by only a 26-20 margin after the period because they drilled four three-pointers, with Teague going 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.

Maurice Harkless opened the second period at small forward to Orlando and gave his team his finest stint of the season. He scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in that stretch, reaching double-figures in scoring for the first time since Orlando's loss to the Washington Wizards on December 2nd. His ability to fill the lane in transition off Magic stops created easy opportunities, but he also scored with an alley-oop layup off an out-of-timeout play and on an open triple in a halfcourt set.

But Atlanta continued to hang around thanks to the long ball: it drained five more threes in the second quarter and trailed by just seven points at halftime. The Magic protected the paint--the Hawks went just 3-of-11 inside in the first half--but couldn't keep Atlanta from pinging the ball around the perimeter to create open treys.

A Vučević tip-in gave Orlando a 12-point lead--tying its largest of the night to date--with 2:04 to play in the half, but the Hawks cut their deficit in half by draining three threes the rest of the way. That Atlanta hung around despite Paul Millsap, arguably its best healthy player, missing all five of his first-half shots attests to its depth as well as the potency of its outside shooting.

Atlanta cut the Magic's lead to just three points by scoring the first four of the third quarter. Orlando ultimately tightened up and pushed its lead to 11 points on two occasions, the second off an impossible Vučević fadeaway in the paint. But the Hawks fought their way back, with a key sequence at the end of the period changing the tenor of the game.

With the shot- and game-clocks winding down, Victor Oladipo drove to his left and abnked in a layup off the glass as he collided with Hawks point guard Shelvin Mack word. The Amway Center crowd cheered the play as the referees signaled for a foul, but that celebration was for naught: the call was charging on Oladipo, setting up Mack for a three-point heave as the quarter ended, bringing Atlanta to within three points. Pending the potential Oladipo and-one, that call--the correct one, it appeared to be from the media loge--swung six points in the game.

The Magic missed their first three shots of the fourth period, allowing Atlanta to take a one-point lead on a Dennis Schröder foul shot with 10:20 to go. The lead was the Hawks' first since they scored the game's first three points on a Teague triple.

Mack drove past the entire Magic defense with 6:55 to go for an uncontested layup in a half-court set, but Orlando responded well even without coach Jacque Vaughn calling for a timeout. Jameer Nelson answered with a reverse layup to put Orlando back in the lead, and the Magic forced live-ball turnovers on Atlanta's next two trips, scoring off each. On the first turnover, Vučević picked up his third steal of the night by poking the ball away from Williams on a drive. Afflalo advanced it to Oladipo, who beat Pero Antić to the rim with ease for a powerful two-handed slam. On the second, Davis recovered a Mack fumble, and Oladipo ultimately pitched the ball back to Nelson for a wide-open trey trailing the break. Nelson's second triple of the night put Orando up by six.

Millsap hit his first three of the night at the 3:50 mark to bring Atlanta within five, but Tobias Harris answered with a driving dunk over him. After a Hawks timeout, Afflalo drilled a three to put Orlando up 10 with 2:51 to go. Less than a minute later, Olaidpo hit a three to effectively ice the game for the Magic, putting the hosts up by 10 with 2:02 to play.