ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Magic might have played their most complete game of the 2016-2017 season on Saturday night, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 105-86. The Magic took control of the game with a 31-19 third quarter as they built a 15-point lead at the end of the quarter and extended the lead to as much as 20 points in the fourth quarter. The win tonight was Orlando’s 22nd win of the season.
Orlando was paced by Elfrid Payton who had a 15-point, 9-rebound and 9-assist performance. Most importantly, he had only one turnover and got to the line 10 times against a solid defensive back-court unit in the Hawks. His ability to control the game helped the Magic to score 27 fast break points.
“It was a matter of them being more aggressive. I think we could have been stronger with the basketball including myself and on top of that getting back on defense.” – Hawks power forward Paul Millsap on the Magic’s ability to get points off turnovers.
Aaron Gordon got to a hot start early in the game and scored 8 of his 18 points in the opening quarter. He looked more and more comfortable in his starting power forward spot in Head Coach Frank Vogel’s lineup.
“He is tremendously and athletically gifted. He can create mismatches one through four or one through three. He can really score and his athleticism is a big factor and he uses it to his advantage.” – Terrence Ross on Aaron Gordon
But the key to the Magic’s success Saturday night was the play of Terrence Ross. Ross, who struggled on Thursday night against the Portland Trailblazers, went 10 for 15 from the floor and knocked down four 3-pointers to lead the Magic in scoring with 24 points.
“He’s a good basketball player on both ends and he was great tonight and (a) big reason we got the W, so we’re excited to have him.”- Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel on Terrence Ross’s performance tonight
Nikola Vucevic earned his 27th double-double in the first half and finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Atlanta was led by Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 15 points, but the Hawks as a team shot 38.1% from the floor. Besides the struggles from the field, the Hawks also struggled from the line as well. Atlanta went 14 for 26 from the free throw line and Dwight Howard missed 8 of his 13 attempts. Speaking of Howard, he picked up four early fouls and finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Orlando will play their next game on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 against the New York Knicks at 7 p.m. at Amway Center.
Points of Interest:
- Hawks starting point guard Dennis Schroder was back with the team after being suspended for one game due to VISA issues delaying his return to Atlanta after the All-Star break. He finished with 11 points and 8 assists off the bench. He shot 4 for 17 from the floor
- With his 24 points tonight, that matched Terrence Ross’s 2nd highest scoring game of the season. His season-high was 25 against Milwaukee on December 12.
- Orlando won despite missing 19 of their 27 3-point attempts.
- Orlando hit 23 out of 24 free throw attempts (95.8%) (Payton was the only Magic player to miss a free throw)