Magic continue to surprise, beat Hawks 104-98

Robin Lopez shoots a hook shot over and Atlanta Hawks defender in Wednesday’s 104-98 Orlando win over the Hawks at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Ga.

ATLANTA, GA – The Orlando Magic came with experience and fresh energy to beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-98 on Wednesday in State Farm Arana.

With both teams rosters being decimated by COVID-19 protocols and injuries, the Magic turned to veteran big man Robin Lopez, and boy did he deliver.

Lopez scored a double double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 assists, including a nifty over the should pass in the paint that lead to a score.

Franz Wagner continued his solid play, scoring 25 points for Orlando, and was helped by Gary Harris’ 17 points and 12 from Chuma Okeke.

Atlanta was led by Cam Reddish’s game high 34 points, followed by John Collins 28 points and 12 rebounds.

Hassani Gravett rises to take a shot against Gorgui Dieng of the Atlanta Hawks on December 22, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Orlando, who’s salary had been decimated my both COVID-19 protocols and injuries, continues to rely on strong work from players from the G-League Lakeland Magic, including BJ Johnson (14 points), Hassani Gravett (8 points, assists in his first NBA start), Alex Ford (8 points), among others.

“It’s the true meaning of being able to stay ready.” Said Orlando Head Coach Jamal Mosely. “I believe also its that connection that we keep with the Lakeland Magic, so they stay ready, and when their number is called, they are ready to play.…These guys came in at the last moment, played their minutes and played them well”

Orlando has been playing without Cole Anthony (Ankle), Wendell Carter Jr (Ankle), Mo Bamba (Health and Safety Protocols), RJ Hampton (Health and Safety Protocols), Terrance Ross (Health and Safety Protocols) and even first round draft pick Jaylen Suggs (Thumb surgery ) among others.

The Hawks were missing Tre Young, Cling Capella, Danilo Gallinari, and Lou Williams among others, so much of their firepower was not available just like Orlando.

Franz Wagner has been a solid player this season for Orlando, steadily using his fundamentals to take whatever the opponents will give him, and Chuma Okeke has proven to gain more confidence the more he is on the floor, showing his feel for the game to make key plays on both ends of the floor.

The Magic return home to face New Orleans on Thursday at the AMways Center.

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