Magic blow lead in final minutes, lose to Hawks 115-112

Orlando, Florida, USA, March 3, 2021, Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic #9 blocks a pass from Atlanta Hawk’s Trae Young #11 at the Amway Center (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic, who had a 17 point lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter, lost in the final minutes 115-112 at Amway Center on Wednesday night.

The Hawks, who didn’t hold a lead in the game until fhe final minutes of the game, won their second straight win since the firing of Head Coach Lloyd Pierce and under the helm of Nate McMillian.

Orlando, Florida, USA, March 3, 2021, Atlanta Hawks Point Guard Trae Young #11 makes a pass under the basket against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Atlanta guard Trey Young scored 32 points and had 4 assists and 8 rebounds, with Danielle Gallinari adding 23 points, and shooting 50% from 3-point rage, and all of the Atlanta starters scored in double figures.

Nikola Vucevic scored 29 points for Orlando with 9 rebounds. Terrance Ross started for the Magic last night and scored 28 points in his 41 minutes on the floor, and Michael Carter-Williams scored 20 points.

Orlando, Florida, USA, March 3, 2021, Orlando Magic player Terrence Ross #31 Takes a shot against the Atlanta Hawks at the Amway Center (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

The Magic were without forward Evan Fournier, who suffered a strained groin in Monday game against The Dallas Mavericks, which forced Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford to start Ross.

Because Ross is the lead man off of the bench, the Magic bench had little scoring to shot for the night, with Khem Birch leading the bench with 5 points.

Orlando, Florida, USA, March 3, 2021, Orlando Magic player Michael Carter-Williams #7 makes a basket against the Atlanta Hawks at the Amway Center (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Orlando dominated the Hawks in the first half, outscoring them 61-42 at halftime. Carter-Williams took advantage of a mismatch by attacking the paint against Try Young relentlessly, scoring 13 of his 20 points in the first half and making 7 of 7 filed goals.

Atlanta adjusted at halftime, putting Tony Snell on Carter-Williams, slowing him down, and running more pick and roll offense against the Magic. That brought them back into the game starting in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks made nine of their 13 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter.

“We had some lapses defensively in the second half. Definitely made some mistakes that we can control. Gave up threes that hurt us. They got hot too. We weren’t in our rotations and we didn’t get a lot of threes in the fourth quarter.” – Carter-Williams

Atlanta took advantages of Orlando’s defensive missteps, and whittled the Orlando lead to a 110-108 score with 1:31 left in the fourth quarter.

With Orlando leading 111-110, Young drove in to the Orlando Paint and was guarded by a leaping Carter-Williams, who has called for a foul. The referee’s explains to Steve Clifford that Carter-Williams hit Young in the head. Young made the two free throws to give the Hawks the 113-112 lead.

“They said he was hit in the head and he wasn’t hit in the head. “Said Clifford. “It was good defense, and it wasn’t a foul.”

“The pick and roll defense was a problem.” Clifford Continued. “It started when we were up 17th in the 4th. They ran 4 pick and rolls without a call for the man coming off, and then set the tone for the rest of the quarter.”

This was for final game for both teams before the All-Star break.

Orlando All-Star Nikola Vucevic will represent the team in the skies challenge as well as in the all-star game as a reserve. The Magic start their second half of the season on Thursday, March 11 in Miami.

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