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Hawks emerge with ugly victory over Magic

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- It was a slog-fest Monday night.

The Atlanta Hawks were just back from a West Coast road trip. The Orlando Magic played for the second consecutive night after flying in from a loss to the Toronto Raptors, battling tired legs and a flu bug.

"We didn't have our legs early," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "This was going to be a game that had to be fought form beginning to end."

After a rough and roughly even first half, the Hawks rode a 22-8 third-quarter run to an 81-72 win, holding on despite nearly blowing a 24-point lead.

Al Horford scored 15 points and had nine rebounds to lead the Hawks (5-4). Zaza Pachulia contributed 11 rebounds and eight points for Atlanta, and Jeff Teague added nine points and seven assists. Lou Williams poured in 14 points off the bench on 6-of-12 shooting.

"I thought it was just me," Horford said, "but I was asking the guys, and they were tired, too. And that team played a back-to-back game, and I think that made it uglier. Tell you what, I'll take the win."

Glen Davis led the Magic (3-7) with 11 points, and he added seven rebounds. Nikola Vucevic pulled down 13 rebounds for Orlando.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn used all 13 players on his roster.

J.J. Redick, playing despite flu symptoms, said, "I felt about as well as I played. I felt like I did more harm than good."

He finished with two points and one assist in 18 minutes.

Drew was forced to send his starters back onto the floor after the Magic cut the lead from 18 points to 12 with about three minutes left. Orlando pulled within 79-70 with a minute and a half to go.

Following an evenly played first quarter that ended with the Magic up 23-21, the Hawks went on a 9-0 run to take a 32-27 lead in the middle of the second quarter after the starters re-entered.

Atlanta was on top 41-37 at halftime and expanded it to 74-50 with 9:23 left in the game before Orlando came charging back to make it close.

The Magic, who head home for a five-game homestand, took out of the game the only positive they could, which was that the bench players got valuable minutes. Vaughn, while positive enough to be whistling a tune not long after the game ended, identified his team's problem: 19 turnovers that resulted in 24 Atlanta points.

"Just need to make the easy play," he said. "Basketball is complicated when you make it complicated."

NOTES: NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, in town to visit NBA Digital, headquartered in Atlanta, met briefly with the media before the game. "I'm really encouraged by everything I'm hearing and seeing here," he said of the Hawks franchise. "Bruce (Levenson) has become a much more active owner since that aborted sale. He's on several important ownership committees, he's given a long-term agreement to (GM) Danny Ferry, he's become much more involved in the community. So I think the franchise has been more than stabilized." ... DeShawn Stevenson still had a touch of the flu that hit the Hawks on last week's West Coast trip, but his sore lower back was feeling better. He had no points and no rebounds in 12 minutes. ... Vaughn said he had no idea which players might be available until shortly before the game started. Guards Redick and Jameer Nelson started despite having flu-like symptoms. Nelson finished with eight points and three assists in 28 minutes.
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