Magic struggle from floor, come up short against Hawks
ATLANTA (AP) — Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer likes the production he’s been getting recently from his bench.
"Their defensive energy is fueling everything else, so hopefully we can continue to get the starters to feed off that, too," he said. "It’s been good to see that for a few games in a row."
Al Horford scored 15 points, Paul Millsap had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Atlanta won its second straight game with a 98-81 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
Jeff Teague added 14 points and Mike Scott scored 12 for the Hawks, who led the entire game.
Aaron Gordon finished with 18 points and Elfrid Payton scored 16 for the Magic. Orlando has dropped seven of eight and was held to 34.5 percent from the field, lowest this season for an Atlanta opponent.
Atlanta has won four of six. The Hawks took their biggest lead at 25 on Scott’s layup with 4:48 remaining.
Thabo Sefolosha had the team’s best production off the bench with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Atlanta’s reserves contributed 47 points, 17 rebounds and 19 assists.
"We were aggressive," Teague said. "Thabo came in the game and did a really good job of being active with his hands, getting steals and doing what he does best."
Orlando hadn’t played since last Thursday’s overtime loss to Toronto in London. Starting guard Victor Oladipo sprained his right knee in the game but stayed in to finish with a season-high 27 points. Oladipo didn’t make the trip to Atlanta.
The Magic’s offense struggled without Oladipo, who averaged 20.4 points in returning the last five games to the starting lineup.
Orlando was outscored 48-30 in the paint. Center Nikola Vucevic finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Our defense was terrible again," Magic coach Scott Skiles said. "Overall we looked very slow out there tonight on both ends."
Atlanta took its first double-digit lead at 28-17 on Horford’s dunk in the first minute of the second. Evan Fournier’s 3 pulled the Magic within six at the 7:37 mark of the third, and Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer quickly called a timeout.
It took Atlanta 5 minutes to push the lead back to 16 on Dennis Schroder’s pull-up jumper.
"We as a team have to decide how we’re going to play," Orlando guard Tobias Harris said. "Are we going to play team basketball together as a unit or do you want to go out and play one-on-one basketball, freelance and hopefully somebody gets hot? (With) our team, we’re not going to win games like that."
Magic: Orlando has dropped 18 of 22 in the regular-season series with Atlanta. … Fournier was 2 for 11 from the field after the third and didn’t play in the fourth. … Payton had three of the team’s six first-quarter turnovers. … The Magic dropped to 20-20. They didn’t win their 20th game last season until March 6.
Hawks: Atlanta has won 11 of 12 home games, including postseason matchups, against Orlando. … Millsap added six assists. He’s the only NBA player averaging at least 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block per game. … The Hawks improved to 9-1 when they have at least 30 assists. They lead the Eastern Conference with a 25.7 average.
Magic: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Hawks: Visit Portland on Wednesday night.