Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) get in there face of Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) as Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) looks on during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

Hawks embarrassed again in loss to lowly Magic

At the wrong time.

The Hawks trailed by as many as 21 points in a 105-86 loss to the Magic Saturday night at Amway Center. It was the Hawks third straight loss and all have come by a considerable margin.

The last two losses, to the Heat and Magic, were against teams with a combined record of 46-70. That’s 24 games under .500.

The Hawks (32-26) are sliding back in the standings at a time following the All-Star break when they wanted to play consistent basketball headed into the playoffs. They are 10-10 in the past 20 games since a seven-game win streak in early January.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks with 15 points. Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince all had 11 points. Schroder did not start the game, a late move following his one-game suspension for not reporting to the team on time after the break. Howard had 14 rebounds after fighting first-half foul trouble.

The Magic (22-38) had a two-game losing streak snapped and won for just the second time in the past eight games. Newly-acquired Terrence Ross had a game-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers. Aaron Gordon added 18 points and Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

The Magic took a 49-46 lead at intermission. They closed the second quarter on a 14-5 run after Howard picked up his fourth foul with 3:51 remaining in the period. Howard had just four points, making one of two field goal attempts, in the first half.

The Magic pushed their lead to as many as 19 points in the third quarter with a 31-point effort in the period. They took an 80-65 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Magic won for just the seventh time in 26 games against the Hawks, who are still fifth in the Eastern Conference some nine games behind the first-place Cavaliers.

Now, the Hawks limp to Boston to take on the Celtics, second in the conference.

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