All-Star Nikola Vucevic scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, leading the Orlando Magic to a 124-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night.
Despite getting into Atlanta around 2:40 a.m. after a 20-point victory at East-leading Milwaukee the previous night, Orlando looked like the fresher team by far in recording its third straight victory, matching its best run of the season.
The Magic began to pull away late in the first half, ripping off an 11-2 run that sent the road team to the locker room with a 63-48 lead — its biggest of the game to that point. D.J. Augustin finished off the spurt, racing the length of the court after a couple of Atlanta free throws to lay one in with 1.2 seconds left.
Atlanta’s Trae Young hit a desperation shot from just inside the halfcourt line, but he clearly released the ball after the buzzer. The officials gave the replay a quick look before ruling no basket. That pretty much epitomized the night for the Hawks, who lost their third straight game at State Farm Arena.
“Our offense wasn’t there too much,” Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter said. “But I think our biggest problem is on the defensive end.”
Orlando kept up the onslaught after halftime, scoring 12 of the first 14 points and pushing the lead as high as 26 points in the third quarter. The Magic led 98-74 at the end of the period, sending plenty of fans to the exits.
Vucevic, who will be making his first All-Star Game appearance next weekend, led seven Orlando players in double figures. Jonathan Isaac and Evan Fournier each had 17 points.
Isaac also had five blocks — three in one Atlanta possession.
Atlanta was outrebounded 49-33.
Alex Len led the Hawks with 16 points, despite picking up four fouls in the first half. The starting frontcourt had a rough night. John Collins led the way with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while Taurean Prince was held to eight points and Dewayne Dedmon managed only five.
The Hawks continue a seven-game homestand Tuesday against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
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