AP Photo/John Raoux
For the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks have been the bane of their existence for quite some time now. Heading into tonight’s game, the Hawks had won their last eight meetings with the Magic in the regular season.
Not to mention Atlanta beating Orlando in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, a year after the Magic recorded the largest margin of victory in a four-game sweep in league history over those very same Hawks.
You’d have to go all the way back to November 8, 2010 to find the last time Orlando beat Atlanta in a regular season game. Back when Dwight Howard and Vince Carter led the Magic to a 93-89 win over the Hawks, and with Stan Van Gundy roaming the sidelines.
Needless to say, it’s been a while since Orlando has beaten Atlanta during the regular season and the Hawks made sure the streak continued with a 108-76 blowout victory.
The Magic got off to a relatively quick start for their standards, leading the Hawks 15-11 midway through the first quarter. Arron Afflalo was the driving force, scoring six quick points thanks to some aggressive drives to the basket.
But Atlanta responded by going on a 19-4 run that spanned the first and second quarters, and opening up a double-digit lead. At that point, you got the sense that the game was getting away from Orlando and that’s precisely what happened. The Hawks went on a scoring spree in the second quarter to take a 57-36 halftime lead.
Atlanta would go on to cruise to an easy win.
The Hawks were led by Josh Smith (30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks) and Al Horford (26 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two steals). Both played exceptionally well, each dominating the game in different ways.
For Smith, not only was his notoriously inefficient jumper falling but he did a nice job of finding his teammates for easy baskets with some nifty passes. As for Horford, when he wasn’t too busy making layups, he was nailing midrange jumpers with aplomb.
It’s no surprise that the Magic’s frontline was outclassed by Smith and Horford, given that they’re very good players.
With the loss, Orlando heads into the All-Star break with a 15-37 record, without Glen Davis for potentially the remainder of the season, and with news that Hedo Turkoglu will be suspended 20 games for violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug policy.
It’s safe to say the Magic have seen better days.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Smith and Horford were the co-MVPs. They both came out of the gate scorching hot and finished the game with double-doubles. As a result, Atlanta was able to enjoy an easy victory.
Trailing 15-11 midway through the first quarter, the Hawks went on a 19-4 run to turn a four-point deficit into a double-digit lead in the second quarter. Atlanta never looked back.