Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 131, Atlanta Hawks 120

BY Fansided and Spencer R. Henderson/FanSided via Orlando Magic Daily • December 13, 2016

The Orlando Magic took its 10-15 record to Atlanta and got a much-needed road win against Dwight Howard and the Atlanta Hawks behind some stellar offense. 

1 2 3 4 T
Magic 35 37 27 32 131
Hawks 34 28 34 24 120

If we have learned anything from the Orlando Magic this year, we know they can win on the road against some solid NBA teams.

This game proved that the team can make adjustments when needed on the road and muster up just enough defense to score a win.

The Magic started off the game shooting perfect from the field and the offensive onslaught continued from there. Even with the defense lagging behind.

Orlando mustered up just enough defense, allowing only 24 points in the fourth quarter, and poured it on with strong scoring performances from Elfrid Payton (a career-high 26 points and 15 assists), Serge Ibaka (29 points), Evan Fournier (23 points) and Jodie Meeks (20 points).

Although Vogel started Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo together again with Nikola Vucevic out with lower back pain again, the paint defense was not that impressive. The Magic showed a lot of laziness around the basket and a lack of aggression on box outs led to easy points for Dwight Howard and company.

The defense picked up and the shots started falling. And Orlando took the lead, extending it out in the fourth quarter.

Payton was the main driver to the Magic turning the game around. He is a drive-and-dish style of point guard and everyone in the lineup becomes a threat to score from the 3-point line.

Having these type of scorers who can put the ball on the floor and shoot from beyond the arc is critical. This style of play opens up driving lanes so Payton can operate and run sets. It also allows Payton to gain confidence, which is desperately needed for him to grow as a floor general.

The ball did not seem to get stuck for the majority of the contest and the team trusted the pass as Vogel likes to say. The Magic registered 21 assists in the first half and a season-high 36 as a team.

Although the Magic got outrebounded in the first half, they still were able to score a season-high 72 points before halftime, their most in a half since 2009. They shot nearly 60 percent form the floor in the first half and kept things going, shooting 58.6 percent for the game.

The ball movement allowed players like Ibaka to consistently get open looks from beyond the arc, which created fluidity on the floor with the other players.

Serge Ibaka

PF, Orlando Magic

He finished with 29 points, making 11 of his 15 shots. Ibaka is also doing well trailing plays after he challenges shots or blocks shot attempts. The Magic need him to continue to shoot those open looks from beyond the arc.

After halftime, Ibaka hit another three and it was almost like his confidence was oozing out of him as he left his hand up in the air. Shortly after that made 3-point bucket he hit another three and showed his critics why was worthy of being traded for last summer.

Evan Fournier

SG, Orlando Magic

He also did a solid job attacking the basket on the fast break. Fournier looked sharp executing on the offensive end. Fournier needs to play like this every game. His 17 points in the first half started the offensive flurry and seemed to get more confident with every steal.

Fournier looked like a confident player. He was able to curl off of the screens and hit open looks. Fournier finished the game with 23 points on 11-15 shooting and was very impressive showing a variety of moves offensively.

Elfrid Payton

PG, Orlando Magic

He was terrific anticipating passes and stealing ball from the Hawks, for the most part, tonight. This is the Payton that Frank Vogel is trying to turn him into. Payton consistently went to the basket with aggression, which either created opportunities for him at the basket or his teammates.

Vogel saw confidence in his eyes and allowed him to play a bulk of minutes.

Payton finished the game with a career-high 26 points and 14 assists. He finished 9 for 12 from the floor and a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the arc. If Payton can hit these type of shots with more consistency the driving lanes will open up even wider for Payton to create.

Atlanta Hawks

12-13, 9th East

The Atlanta Hawks looked good after halftime as they played better defense and scored more efficiently offensively, helping them erase a 10-point halftime deficit. But the Hawks allowed more that 130 points at home against a team that is one of the worse scoring team in the NBA.

This was the most points that the Magic have ever scored against the Hawks in franchise history.

Overall, that makes it a disappointing performance for Atlanta. With several days off to prepare, the Hawks defense was plenty slow and gave up repeated dribble penetration and open 3-pointers. The Hawks could only keep pace for so long, especially when the Magic began to lock in defensively.

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