Magic snap skid with big 113-81 victory over Hawks
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Orlando Magic were starving, and not just for a win that had eluded them the last four games.
Apparently the flight back from Washington early Saturday morning didn’t have any food.
They certainly feasted on Atlanta.
Matt Barnes(notes) finished with 18 points, and reserve Jason Williams(notes) added 14 to help the Magic build a 38-point lead and stay atop the Southeast Division. Orlando is 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta (23-13) and has won the two regular-season meetings against its division rival.
“That’s about as happy as I’ve been with a regular-season win in a long time,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We just needed to get a win so we can all get a good night sleep and get the monkey off our back.”
Al Horford(notes) had 14 points and Josh Smith(notes) scored 11 for the Hawks, who committed 16 turnovers and never could rally after falling behind early. Especially not with Orlando shooting 64 percent from the floor in the opening half.
Another loss to the Magic certainly doesn’t help the Hawks’ chances of dethroning the two-time division winners and reigning Eastern Conference champions.
Atlanta couldn’t have expected such a Magic turnaround.
Orlando (25-12) had lost four straight games—all to teams that had losing records—for the first time since February 2007. And Carter said before the game he had a “mild separation” in his left shoulder but could be back as soon as next week, saying it was mostly soreness and didn’t require surgery.
At least now the Magic can head out on a tough four-game road trip with stops at the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver, Portland and Sacramento with some momentum.
“Joy? I’m not sure I know what that feels like in a coaching sense,” Van Gundy said. “Relief is pretty much what I feel after every game, but a lot more of it now.”
They have plenty of positives to take with them on the ride out West.
Filling in for the injured Carter, Redick highlighted a 26-6 run with some highlights worthy of his days as a star at Duke. He had a pair of hard-driving layups, a 3-pointer and a jumper rolling off a tight screen to help give the Magic a 44-24 lead late in the second quarter.
Redick said he didn’t feel any differently as a starter.
“To be honest, I wasn’t as hyped up because it was the fourth game in five nights,” he said. “I was focused on winning.”
All the Magic’s flashy plays that had been missing came in one, big bunch.
Howard swatted Johnson’s shot into the first row, then twice connected on an alley-oop from Jameer Nelson(notes). Ryan Anderson(notes) had a pair of powerful drop-steps in the post for layups. Barnes had a three-point play and a shot-clock beating jumper; and one of backup center Marcin Gortat’s(notes) four blocks hit a videographer sitting on the baseline.
“I think we got discouraged early,” Horford said. “They made a lot of jump shots. They took us out of what we wanted to do. They went down to the other end and we couldn’t stop them.”
The Hawks didn’t help themselves.
They had 10 turnovers in the first half. They showed little poise— constantly arguing with officials—and had even fewer second-chance shots, a big reason why they trotted slowly to the locker room down a whopping 66-37.
Atlanta eventually went down by 38 points but was able to trim the deficit to 19 on a layup by Zaza Pachulia(notes) early in the fourth quarter with most of Orlando’s starters on the bench. But the Magic followed with another crowd-pleasing play.
Redick went into the stands to save the ball, throwing it over his head without looking. Anderson got it and swished a 3-pointer to deliver another big blow to the Hawks.
“Everybody’s been down a little bit,” Anderson said. “We really needed that one.”
NOTES: The Magic aren’t the only team that had lost four straight. Atlanta lost four in a row from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4. … Howard was shooting the second of two free throws with 6:59 left in the first quarter when a squeaky noise accidentally went off over the loud speakers. The noise lasted only a few seconds. Howard didn’t stop his motion and made the free throw.