Hawks Fend Off Magic Rally

Friday, February 24, 2012
By Jon Newberry

The Hawks never trailed in the second half of their 83-78 win over the Magic Thursday night at the Highlight Factory, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that there was no drama or suspense down the stretch.

Atlanta had squandered a 17-point halftime lead, letting the Magic tie the score in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Willie Green came through with a big 3-pointer and Ivan Johnson followed with a monster slam to push the Hawks back in front. Orlando would not go down without a fight, battling back within one point with just over three minutes remaining. It was Green again who stepped up with a huge shot from the corner and a floater in transition.

The immediate memory might be the Hawks ability to fend off the late rallies by Orlando, but the first half was when Atlanta really showcased the potential of how good they can be when they play with a lot of energy and play as a team.

“Clearly they played a lot harder than we did,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game. “It wasn’t even close. We gave up 47 points in the first half, 21 fast break points, 11 second chance points. So 32 of their 47 points are just fast breaks and offensive rebounds.”

The 29 points in the first quarter was the third highest total of the season for Atlanta, and their 47-30 halftime lead made it the seventh time this season that they have led by 15 or more at the break.