Magic lose to Hawks, 109-81, drop from 4th playoff spot

Orlando’s struggles continued Friday night, as the Atlanta Hawks breezed through the Magic, who are obviously missing all-star center Dwight Howard presence.

The Magic never came within 15 points of the Hawks after the second quarter before losing 109-81, as Atlanta moved past Orlando for the fourth seed in the playoffs.

“We didn’t shoot good two-pointers or at the line three-point line; there was nothing we did good defensively in the game, there was really nothing going on it was a very poor defensive effort,” said Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.

The Hawks on the other hand controlled the game from the opening tip off scoring first and never relinquishing the lead. They got off to a fast start, exploiting Howard’s replacement Glen Davis, going to the paint often against the shorter Davis whom matched up poorly with Atlanta’s big men.

Thing turned from bad to worse after the game for Orlando, when rumors were circulating that Howard would miss the rest of the regular season with a lower back injury that has kept him out of the past five games.

“Regardless of who we have out there, we are missing (Hedo) Turkoglu, no matter who we have out there we have to be able to compete,” said guard Quentin Richardson.

Orlando’s offense didn’t fare much better as a team shooting 38% from the field and going 6-28 from the three point line. Much of the offense came from reserve Von Wafer as he had a team high 16 points and four assists.

Meanwhile, the Hawks had double figure scoring totals from six players; led by reserve Jannero Pargo who hit five three-pointers and ended the game with 17 points. Atlanta also received 16 points from starters Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

“No excuses. In order to be a lot better, obviously we have to figure out how to play defense better. Because obviously we’re going to miss having Dwight on that end of the floor a lot,” said Guard JJ Redick.

The Magic have a day of rest before taking on the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers in a Sunday afternoon game, while Atlanta hopes to strengthen their hold on the fourth seed against the Toronto Raptors.