Ten observations from Hawks loss at Magic

ORLANDO--Ten observations from Magic 100, Hawks 98. . . .

1.The Hawks had a bad shooting night (49.4 effective field-goal percentage) but stayed in it with gritty defense and strong rebounding (38-28 advantage). The Hawks led 87-86 after John Collins' dunk with 2:55 to play but couldn't hold the advantage as the Magic scored on four of their next five possessions. Dewayne Dedmon air-balled a step-back three-point attempt with the Hawks down three and 7.8 seconds left. That's the shot Team Tank was looking for.

2. In this game Dennis Schroder easily got by D.J. Augustin, expertly weaved his way to the basket and drew contact from help defenders. His finishing was so-so (5-for-15 on field goals) but he made up for that by going 7-for-8 at the line. After Shelvin Mack gave Schroder a hard foul in the fourth quarter, Schroder jumped up and lunged at him before teammates and Hawks security intervened.

3. Mack and Schroder are former teammates but, asked if they are cool, Schroder said: "No, not really." As for his reaction to the play, which was ruled a common foul, Schroder said: "When the referee calls something you are not supposed to push somebody down (after). That's how I felt. It's over now so I am moving on."

4. With Marco Belinelli out again, Tyler Dorsey was the first sub off the bench (and the only wing). He provided an immediate spark with five points and two rebounds over the final six minutes of the first quarter. Early in the season it looked as if Dorsey would get no run as a rookie but lately he’s been effective as part of the rotation. "He's been playing well," Budenholzer said. "I don't know that he had the ball in his hands a lot the last two, three minutes. But just to be on the court, to be in those situations. . . I thought he guarded (Evan) Fournier well in the last two or three minutes and he's a tough cover."

5. Malcolm Delaney (11 points on six shots) also boosted the bench with seven points in the third quarter. Lately he's been on point with deciding when to pass and when to look for points. Delaney and Isaiah Taylor are a good pairing as defensive pests.

6. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer made liberal use of his bench with four reserves playing 20 minutes or more. Rookies Dorsey and John Collins were among the finishing group. Hawks bench players combined to score 45 points.

7. The Magic missed 28 shots in the first half and the Hawks collected 26 of them. John Collins had seven of those defensive rebounds in 13 minutes. Collis had one of those games in which he was collecting rebounds because his quickness-to-height ratio on jumps was much higher than anyone else.

8. Before the game Ersan Ilyasova, who invoked his right to reject a trade, said he’s not looking for a buyout “as long as we are playing to win.” That makes sense if Ilyasova continues to play starter's minutes, giving him a chance to increase his free-agent value. But he logged just 15 minutes against the Magic. Foul trouble played a factor but Budenholzer went with Collins instead of Ilyasova at the finish. Budenholzer: "It was kind of a tough night for him and I think the other guys were playing well and I just kind of stuck with them."

9. Dedmon spent much of the first half planted at the three-point line. He made his first three-point attempt but missed his next five, including one in the final minute of the game with the Hawks down 94-89 and then the step-back airball .  On the previous possession Dedmon turned down an open two-point jumper and tried to pass to Collins, who was already looking to the rim for a potential rebound. Were the Hawks trying to get Dedmon looks from three? "I wouldn't say it was any different tonight," Budenholzer said. "A couple situations late he was there. But, generally speaking, it was kind of a normal night. Tried to pull (Bismack) Biyombo away from the rim a little bit."

10. Earlier Thursday the Magic traded their 2014 lottery pick, point guard Elfrid Payton, to the Suns for a second-round pick. When an Orlando reporter prefaced a question to Budnholzer by saying Payton was “the guy you wanted to shoot” Bundeholzer quipped: “It seemed like he always made his shots against us.” Augustin replaced Payton in the lineup and went for 18 points on 14 shots with nine assists and zero turnovers. Said Taurean Prince: "He's been through that before. It's not like they were losing anything, in my eyes."

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Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.