Notebook: Hawks 97, Magic 88

Posted Mar 30, 2013 11:49 PM

By Jonathan Cooper, for

THE FACTS: In his two seasons in Atlanta, Ivan Johnson has carved out his niche as an energy guy that makes things happen. He chose a perfect time to make things happen Saturday night at Philips Arena. Johnson, starting for Al Horford, scored 21 points, marking his season high and matching his career high. He added 10 rebounds in 34:28 to lift the Atlanta Hawks to a 97-88 win over the Orlando Magic.

Josh Smith scored 21 points on 50-percent shooting for the Hawks (41-33), bouncing back from an off-night Friday in Boston, and Devin Harris scored 13 fourth-quarter points to salvage what had been a tough night for three quarters.

Beno Udrih, starting at the point for the injured Jameer Nelson, led the Magic (19-55) with 20 points and had eight assists, while center Nikola Vucevic added 17 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Mo Harkless also had 17 for the Magic, who have lost seven straight on the road and dropped to 8-28 away from home.

The win, Atlanta's 10th straight over Orlando and sixth straight at home, gave them a sweep of the season series. It also lifted the Hawks over the Chicago Bulls, who had lost earlier in the day to Dallas, and into fifth place in the Eastern Conference (Atlanta has played three more games). It also win was the silver lining in a black cloud of a day that saw the announcement of the loss for the season of center Zaza Pachulia, one its most popular players. Then, the Hawks got the pre-game news that for a second straight game Horford would be scratched, as would rookie John Jenkins, who suffered a concussion in Friday's loss.

The Magic appeared poised to add to Atlanta's woes, leading after the first quarter, 27-23. But the Hawks rallied to take a one-point lead into the locker room, on Smith's put-back just before the halftime buzzer. Atlanta would lead the rest of the way, sparked by their bench, which pushed the lead to seven after three and to as much as 14 in the fourth.

QUOTABLE: "Somebody had to step it up with Al [Horford] out tonight."

-- Ivan Johnson

THE STAT: 38-15 -- While both teams dressed only 10 players, Atlanta got more bang for the buck from its bench, outscoring the Magic 38-15. Johnson had 21, while Anthony Tolliver and Shelvin Mack each added eight and Dahntay Jones chipped in a point. Andrew Nicholson led Orlando's reserves with nine, but seven of them came in the fourth quarter and five of those came in the final two minutes with Atlanta up double-digits. Kyle O'Quinn's bucket also came late in the fourth.

TURNING POINT: With 2:15 left in the third quarter, Tolliver hit a 3-point shot that not only took a lot of the steam out of the Magic but also lit a fire under the Hawks. The shot from the right side extended Atlanta's lead to 62-56, starting a quarter-closing 8-4 run. More important, it ignited the Hawks, who had been 1-for-5 from 3 in the quarter and 2-for-13 for the game. They made their final two 3s of the third quarter to open up a seven-point lead and shot 4-for-8 the rest of the game from behind the arc.

QUOTABLE II: "Twenty-two, 23, and 22 points in the first three quarters I will take, but you have to score at the same time."

-- Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, whose team managed only 17 and 16 in the middle two stanzas

HOT: Atlanta's Harris took over the game in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 points, and 10 in a row in a 1:40 span. Harris finished the game 5-for-7, 2-for-3 from 3. He had been 1-for-2, 1-for-1 from 3 prior to the spurt.

NOT: Orlando struggled all night from the foul line, shooting 59.3 percent for the game. They were especially off the mark over the first three quarters, as they converted 11 of their 20 (55.0 percent). They went in to the final quarter trailing by seven. In contrast, Atlanta had hit 15-for-20.

ROOKIE WATCH: Magic forward Harkless had a solid game, going for 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting and 1-for-3 from 3, and making a team-high four free throws. Although he, too, struggled from the foul line, requiring eight attempts. Harkless grabbed four rebounds, handed out two assists and had a team- and game-high-tying three steals.

LINE OF THE NIGHT: Smith, who shot 6-for-23 Friday night in Boston: 21 points, 7-for-14, 7-9, FTA, 2 offensive rebounds, 7 defensive rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocked shots.

NOTABLE: The win gave Hawks coach Larry Drew his 125th as Atlanta's coach and moved him past current assistant Bob Weiss (1990-93) and into seventh place on the team's all-time list. Next up is Cotton Fitzsimmons (1972-76), with 140. ...The game was a little sloppy, as in the first half the teams combined for the same number of turnovers as they did assists, 17. For the game, it was 33 turnovers to 30 assists, with Orlando managing an opponent's season-low 12 helpers. ...Kyle Korver's second-quarter 3 gave him at least one in 67 straight games. He is one behind Reggie Miller for the fourth-longest streak in NBA history. ...Atlanta's 30 points in the final quarter matched their average for that quarter over the last five games. They average 23.1 for the season. ...Orlando did a lot right in hustle-areas, holding a 53-44 edge on the boards, a 44-36 advantage in the paint and a 26-11 edge in second-chance points.

UP NEXT: For the Magic, Monday @ Houston, Wednesday @ San Antonio, Friday @ Chicago. For the Hawks, Monday vs. Cleveland, Wednesday vs. New York, Friday vs. Philadelphia.