Magic Host Hawks, Look to Stay Hot at Home
Posted Nov 25 2006 12:23PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Orlando Magic look to win their sixth straight home game and continue their dominance over the Atlanta Hawks at TD Waterhouse Centre as they meet Saturday.
The Magic (9-4) closed last season winning 12 of their final 13 games at TD Waterhouse Centre, and have opened this season 6-1 at home.
Orlando has benefited from outstanding shooting at home, where it leads the league at 51.5 percent.
The Magic won for the sixth time in their last seven games Friday with a 107-104 victory over Miami. Orlando is in first place in the Southeast Division, and leads second-place Atlanta (5-5) by 2 1/2 games.
Grant Hill scored 24 points, including a jumper with 28 seconds left, as the Magic improved to 5-1 in games decided by five points or less after going just 10-14 in those games last season.
``Last year we couldn't do it,'' Dwight Howard said. ``Games like this, we would have folded.''
Howard had 23 points and 12 rebounds to record his fourth straight double-double. The 6-11 center is averaging 21.8 points and 16.8 rebounds in that span, but totaled just 11 points and eight rebounds in Orlando's 95-82 loss Nov. 5 to the Hawks.
The third-year player wasn't the only one who struggled in that game as the Magic were held to a season low in points and shot a season-worst 41.9 percent. Although they had a poor outing against the Hawks earlier this month, the Magic have been stellar against them at home lately.
Orlando has won four straight games at TD Waterhouse over Atlanta and 12 of its last 13 at home against the Hawks.
The Hawks moved above .500 for the first time since 2002 with their win over the Magic earlier this month, and they once again have the opportunity to move above the break-even mark against Orlando.
Atlanta, which didn't get its first win until the 10th game of last season, ended a four-game losing skid Friday with a 97-93 win over Toronto to get back to .500.
``We kept our composure,'' Hawks guard Joe Johnson said. ``We're a young team. We learn from our mistakes. Tonight we were in the same position we were the last four games, but we definitely buckled down in the fourth quarter.''
Johnson scored 27 points and Tyronn Lue hit an 18-foot fadeaway with 30 seconds remaining.
Johnson averaged 20.2 points last season, but is sixth in the league with a 27.6 average this season.
The six-year veteran has led the Hawks in scoring each game this season, and scored a game-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting against Orlando.
Atlanta expects to be without guard Josh Childress, who missed his third straight game with a sprained left foot on Friday, for another week. X-rays were negative on his foot, and Hawks coach Mike Woodson indicated that Childress, who is averaging 13.3 points on 56.7 percent shooting, might not return until Dec. 3, when the Hawks begin a five-game trip on the West Coast.
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