The Orlando Magic are now tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
The Magic kept pace in the first quarter, fell behind in the second quarter, fought their way back in the third quarter, and allowed the Hawks to blow it open again in the fourth quarter of what was a 112-96 loss.
The loss, the Magic’s ninth in their last ten games, dropped their record to 18-40, which is tied for worst in the East with the Detroit Pistons.
The Magic got out to a quick start, converting Hawks turnovers into points to take an early 9-2 lead, highlighted by this impressive throwdown by Wendell Carter Jr. after he picked off a pass and went coast to coast...
Wendell has been balling in Orlando pic.twitter.com/V5S1ukRbtP— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 20, 2021
Kevin Huerter helped chip away at the lead, by hitting a pair of threes and scoring 10 points in the quarter. After Atlanta went back in front at 19-18, Cole Anthony responded with a drive to the basket, continuing in the first half to show an improved ability to finish at the rim. Anthony then found Robert Franks for the three, one of Anthony’s four first-quarter assists. But the Hawks — with the Magic finishing the first with a three-guard lineup featuring Chasson Randle, Devin Cannady and R.J. Hampton - closed the quarter on an 8-1 run to take a 27-24 lead into the second.
Carter Jr. had seven points in the first to lead the Magic, who shot 42.9 percent, making just 3 of 12 attempts from deep. The Hawks shot 42.9 percent and grabbed four offensive rebounds in the quarter.
The Magic couldn’t keep the Hawks off the glass or the free throw line in the second quarter as the Hawks opened a double-digit lead. Clint Capela had 12 points in the quarter, eight of which came off putbacks as the Magic were outrebounded 18-6 in the quarter and 33-15 in the half. Capela had 13 rebounds at the half, two shy of the entire Magic team.
The Hawks held a big advantage at the line, connecting on 14 of 15 attempts, compared to 3 of 6 for the Magic. Correction, Trae Young and Lou Williams had a big advantage at the line, with Young going 8-for-9 and William going 6-for-6 to combine for all of the Hawks free throws.
Williams had ten points in the second as the Hawks shot 54.2 percent overall in the quarter, going up by as many as 19 points. Orlando’s struggles from deep continued in the second, converting on 2 of 9 attempts, going 5-for-21 overall in the half (23.8%). The Hawks outscored the Magic 38-24 in the second to take a 65-48 lead into the break.
The Magic improved at both ends in the third, getting themselves back in the game. Orlando opened the third on a 7-0 run to trim the Hawks’ lead to 65-55, as Atlanta missed its first seven shots of the quarter. Later in the quarter, Anthony converted a drive to the basket and drew the foul on Capela for a three-point play that pulled the Magic within eight with 4:35 to go.
Anthony then found Cannady in the corner for a three that made it 76-70, forcing an Atlanta timeout.
After holding the Hawks to 15 points in the third quarter points on 26.9 percent shooting, the Magic went into the fourth trailing by only eight at 80-72. Orlando didn’t shoot well from the field in the third (38.9%) but reversed the first-half free throw trend by getting to the line and making 8 of 9 attempts compared to just one take and make for the Hawks. That advantage, combined with a strong defensive quarter, helped to chip away at the lead.
The Hawks started to pull away when Williams connected on a three, and then on the next Atlanta possession was fouled while attempting a three (the fourth time the Magic fouled a three-point shooter in the game, three of which were on Williams!) to increase the lead to 85-73. The Hawks would go on to build their lead back up to 19 en route to the victory.
The Hawks had six players in double figures, led by Young, who finished with 25 points and 7 assists and went 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Williams added 22 points off the bench. Capela had 14 points, 19 rebounds (six offensive) and 2 blocks.
The Hawks shot just 41.5 percent in the game but grabbed 18 offensive rebounds (compared to five for the Magic). Overall the Hawks outrebounded the Magic, 64-39.
Orlando went just 8-for-36 from beyond the arc (22.2%) and shot 40.5 percent overall.
The Magic were led by Carter, who had 17 points and 8 rebounds, and Anthony, who had 17 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and just 2 turnovers. Gary Harris added 14 points and Dwayne Bacon and Chasson Randle each had 10.
It was the third straight loss for the Magic, who have dropped 9 of their last 10. They return home to take on the Pelicans on Thursday, going up against Zion Williamson for the first time ever (assuming he doesn’t get the night off).