Playing on the second night of back-to-back games, the Hawks (15-40) gave up 42 points in the fourth quarter of a 135-126 loss to the Magic Monday in Orlando.
Below are some takeaways from the loss:
1. The Hawks had a five-point lead at halftime, bouncing back from a slow start (they had just nine points at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter), and led by three entering the fourth quarter. But they had trouble containing the Magic in the fourth, particularly once they started hitting 3’s (they went 0-for-5 from 3 in the first quarter), and a 3-pointer by Aaron Gordon put Orlando up by 12 with 3:30 to go.
The Magic scored 42 points in the fourth quarter, including six 3’s. They went 18-for-38 from 3-point range overall, compared to the Hawks’ 16-for-37.
It wasn’t like the Hawks were struggling to score, shooting 53.4% from the field to the Magic’s 52.6%, but they were unable to get stops down the stretch. Fourteen offensive rebounds by the Magic (and 22 second-chance points) didn’t help.
Entering Monday’s game, the Magic were averaging 103.1 points per game, second-worst in the league, and 135 was a season-high: “We didn’t have enough pressure on their passers, and their shooters got hot tonight,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “That’s tough… Credit to those guys, because I know they’ve been struggling to really put some points up, and they got going in that third and fourth quarters and coming out of halftime, and just shot the ball extremely well.” Gordon led the Magic with 26 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 24 points.
2. Playing on the second night of back-to-backs has really thrown the Hawks off this season, with this loss moving them to 1-9 in that scenario. Sunday night, the Hawks beat the Knicks in double overtime with John Collins playing 49 minutes and Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter and Kevin Huerter each playing 47 minutes. Their only win the second night of back-to-backs came against the Pacers Jan. 4, and they’ve struggled to play with energy during tough scheduling draws.
This was a close contest until about the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter and was better by that standard, though the Hawks still came away with a loss: “We’ve had some poor back-to-backs on the year, it’s been, really, an achilles heel for us,” Pierce said. “I thought our guys, after playing a double-overtime game last night, really fighting, scrapping, a lot of guys playing heavy minutes, I thought our guys came out and competed tonight, which was encouraging.”
3. After missing four consecutive games with a concussion, rookie wing Cam Reddish returned to action, playing on a 25-minute restriction and finishing with 11 points, two rebounds and one assist in a little over 24 minutes. Reddish was injured in the first quarter of the Hawks’ loss in Dallas Feb. 1. In the third quarter, Reddish stole the ball from Evan Fournier and tore down the court to finish with a layup, getting fouled and making his free throw to bring the Hawks within three, 86-83.
4. Despite the loss, the Hawks moved the ball well, registering a season-high 33 assists. Backup point guard Jeff Teague led the way with 11 assists, Trae Young added nine and Kevin Huerter added seven. Young led the Hawks in scoring with 29 points, adding nine assists. It took him a while to get going — he only made one field goal in the first half, but he got to the line, going 10-for-11 in the first half (12-for-13 overall). Young’s first 3-pointer of the game came at the 8:46 mark in the third quarter to put the Hawks up, 68-66.
5. In his second game back with Atlanta since being acquired at the trade deadline, Dewayne Dedmon continues to look like his old self who played his best basketball the past two seasons with the Hawks. Dedmon added 14 points (going 2-for-4 from 3) and nine rebounds, adding an assist and two blocked shots.
By the Numbers
45-31 (the rebounding margin, in favor of the Magic, who added 14 offensive rebounds)
“What we’re striving to be is a championship organization, and we will be. But we have to go through these phases and we have to go through these stretches. I’m a supporter of all of our guys, their character, their growth on and off the court and that’s the most important thing that I do as a coach.” (Pierce on being encouraged by the Hawks’ future)
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