Magic fall to Hawks

ORLANDO — Josh Smith had 16 points and 11 rebounds to have a double-double as the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Orlando Magic 86-80 Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

Returning home after a five game west coast road trip which the Magic went (3-2), Orlando (8-13) struggled against the Hawks (13-6) from the beginning with a sluggish start.

“It was 16 to 2 at one point. You have to spend a lot of energy to put yourself back in the game,” said magic head coach Jacque Vaughn.

“The games we won we took care of the basketball. There was a stretch tonight when it was a four point game, we had three turnovers in a row then the next thing you know it’s a 12 point game.”

The loss makes it the eighth consecutive loss against Atlanta which took advantage of Orlando’s miscues tonight. The Magic committed 15 turnovers that lead to their inefficient game play.

“They were turning our turnovers into points,” said Vaughn. “We knew that going into the game with this team how efficient they were turning our turnovers into points and they did that tonight.”

Arron Afflalo lead the Magic with 16 points and J.J. Redick contributed with 13 points off the bench, but both players struggled with their shooting as the team shot 38.3% from the field.

“You have to compete to get energy and build it,” said Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo. “We have to do something but we can’t afford to sleepwalk into the game and that falls a lot on the guys who start the game. We have to make some changes to get us in more of an aggressive mindset.”

Atlanta Hawks head coach Larry Drew was pleased on how his veteran players Al Horford and Josh Smith took control and revisited their natural gameplay.

“You can really see them starting to gel together,” said Drew.  “They’ve played together over the years, but what I’m seeing between the two of them right now is something special. They seem to read each other well and it’s getting better every game we play.
Meanwhile the Magic fall further behind the Hawks and the Heat in the southeast division as they sit in the third place spot with Charlotte only a game back.

Orlando plays their next game on Friday Dec. 14 against the Golden State Warriors.