ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Magic are doing their best to reach the playoffs even if time is running out.
The Magic (33-44) are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot. Orlando has five games left.
“We’re still alive,” said Magic coach Brian Hill after his team won its 10th straight home game. “Were just taking it one game at a time and let’s see how well we can play and see if we can keep adding W’s.”
Howard tied his career high with six assists as the Magic won their fifth straight game.
“You know hard work will eventually show up for our team and I think that’s what the case is now,” said Dwight Howard, who posted his 56th double-double this season.
They were 11 of 19 (57.9 percent) in the fourth quarter when Atlanta trimmed a 14-point deficit to just 83-78 with 6:32 left in the game. Orlando hit nine of its last 11 shots to run away with the game.
“We’re trying to enjoy this season all the way to the 82nd game,” said Turkoglu, who had five rebounds and five assists. “If we make the playoffs, great! If we don’t, it’s our own fault. We should have played like this before now because if you look at it, we’re a playoff caliber team.”
The Hawks didn’t argue.
“They are on fire right now,” Hawks forward Josh Smith said. “People were counting them out, but I believe they can make the playoffs.”
“They always play hard,” added Al Harrington, who led Atlanta with 19 points. “Every time we cut it close, they would come down the next three or four possessions and get exactly the shot they wanted. They really execute well.”
Atlanta had trimmed a 14-point deficit to 83-78 with 6:32 left in the game before the Magic went on a 16-2 run to put the game away. Howard capped the run with a three-point play that made it 99-80 with 1:39 left in game.
Harrington had 15 points as the Hawks sprinted out to a 40-31 lead with under 7 minutes to play in the first half, but the Magic answered with a 21-7 run to take a 52-47 halftime lead.
The Magic scored the first six points of the third quarter to push the lead to 58-47, but it was their defense that carried them through the period. Atlanta shot only 29.4 percent as Orlando pushed the lead to 78-65 by the end of the quarter.
The Hawks scored nine straight points in the middle of the fourth period to cut the deficit to 83-78. Marvin Williams missed a breakaway layup on Atlanta’s next possession that could have made it a three-point game.
Magic F Darko Milicic tied his season high with 13 points. … Magic PG Carlos Arroyo was put on the inactive list for the first time since joining the team because of a hamstring injury. … Hawks C Zaza Pachulia sat out the game with a sore Achilles’. … The Magic are shooting 53.9 percent from the field and averaging 103 points a game during their nine-game home winning streak. … Hawks G Joe Johnson has played in 353 straight games, second among active players to Toronto’s Morris Petersen. … Magic F Stacey Augmon played for the first time since March 15. It was the 1,000th game of his career.