Magic will be without injured Fournier against Hawks
ATLANTA — Evan Fournier scored 27 points in the Orlando Magic’s home overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, but he won’t be available for Saturday’s rematch.
Fournier, the Magic’s second-leading scorer at 18.3 points per game, isn’t making the trip to Atlanta and the sprained right ankle he suffered at the start of overtime in Orlando will likely keep the swingman out for a while.
Losing Fournier is just the latest injury blow for the Magic, who started the season 8-3 before going into a slide.
The Magic are also without Terrence Ross and rookie defensive standout Jonathan Isaac. Ross has missed the past five games with a knee injury and Isaac the last 15 with a sprained ankle.
“We’ve got a lot of talented guys here, guys that can fill it up when we’re sharing the ball the way we’re supposed to,” said Magic point guard Elfrid Payton, who also missed time this season. “But it’s going to be tough to fill Evan’s shoes. He makes big shots for us constantly. He’s someone that gets into the paint and can get to the free-throw line. It’s going to be tough to do it, but I think we can.”
Orlando is 11-16 after a 103-89 loss to Denver on Friday. Arron Afflalo, who replaced Fournier in the lineup, finished with six points and four rebounds. It was Afflalo’s first start since for the Magic since April 16, 2014, when he was traded to Denver for Fournier.
The Magic couldn’t keep up with the Nuggets’ bench. Denver’s reserves outscored Orlando 53-16 and the Nuggets shot 61 percent in the second and third quarters to take control of the game.
The Hawks (5-19) will be playing the same opponent in back-to-back games for the second time in a week. They won at Brooklyn last Saturday, then lost the rematch in Atlanta on Monday.
The Hawks led by nine in the fourth quarter at Orlando, but veteran backup D.J. Augustin made a 3-pointer with six seconds left to force overtime and the Magic prevailed 110-106 despite losing Fournier at the start of the extra period.
“A lot of plays down the stretch could have gone either way and you feel like we didn’t get a break,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
A video review took away a 3-pointer because of a shot-clock violation and the Hawks lost a basket because of offensive goaltending.
The Hawks, like the Magic, have injury issues, with Atlanta extremely short-handed in the frontcourt. Dewayne Demon (leg), John Collins (shoulder) and Mike Muscala (ankle) are out, and Luke Babbitt (back) is limited.
The Hawks’ injuries have created an opportunity for undrafted rookie Tyler Cavanaugh, who is on a two-way contract. He had 13 points in Orlando.
The Magic, though, outscored the Hawks 62-42 in the paint. Aaron Gordon had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Nikola Vucevic contributed 22 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
The Magic and Hawks split their four-game series last season, with each team winning once at home and once on the road.