In front of a sparse Amway Center crowd, the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks got in some early Sunday afternoon action. The Magic led for much of the way before coughing up a lead in the fourth. However, despite blowing another lead, the Magic were able to come out on top, winning 94-96.
Unlike many of their recent games, the Magic came out firing on all cylinders early on. With Tobias Harris out with a sore ankle, Evan Fournier was inserted back into the starting lineup, a spot he thrived in early on in the season, and it showed early for the reeling Magic. Fournier, helped get the Magic off to a good start on both ends, knocking down four of his first six attempts from the field, as well as slowing Kent Bazemore down on the defensive end. Overall, the Magic looked the better side, forcing the Hawks into seven early turnovers, helping aid them in taking a 30-19 lead after 12 minutes.
After their strong start, the Magic began sputtering some in the second quarter. After a hot start shooting, the Magic saw many of their opportunities go begging, shooting a woeful 6-of-22 in the quarter. On top of those struggles, their defense took a step back as well, with the Hawks finally appearing to settle down after a rocky opening quarter. Despite their struggles and inconsistencies, the Magic were still able to hold a seven point lead going into halftime, up 48-41.
Out of halftime, the Magic locked down on the defensive end, stifling the Hawks for the entire third quarter. Orlando let their defense lead to offense, with the team shooting 50 percent in the quarter. The hosts got to into the paint early and often, scoring 14 of their 23 third quarter points in the painted area. Despite their strong play, a Thabo Sefolosha half-court heave miraculously banked in, cutting the Magic's lead down to 11, 71-60 after three.
Following aa strong quarter defensively, things began to unravel for the Magic. Their defensive intensity disappeared, with the group losing Hawks shooters left and right. The Hawks made them pay, hitting a flurry of three-pointers and long jumpers to cut into Orlando's once 14 point lead.
Kent Bazemore tied the game up late for the Hawks after a Nikola Vucevic turnover, giving the Hawks a chance to break the Magic's spirit yet again. The Magic followed up Bazemore's make with another turnover, giving the Hawks the ball with just under 35 seconds remaining. Paul Millsap's shot went begging, but the Hawks secured the offensive rebound. They were unable to convert once again, with Evan Fournier coming up with the loose ball, giving the Magic one final chance to win. Following a timeout, Vucevic hit a game winner, giving the Magic a much needed win.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 22 on the day. Fournier finished the game with 21, with Victor Oladipo scoring 19 on the afternoon. Elfrid Payton notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists, while Aaron Gordon had a double-double of his own with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
All five Hawks starters finished in double figures, led by Jeff Teague's game-high 24. Bazemore added 23, with Millsap scored 14. Al Horfod stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists. Sharp shooter Kyle Korver rounded out their group with 10.