Denton: Magic vs. Hawks Analysis (1/22/14)

   

An Amway Center crowd of 16,713 roared with approval as the Magic (11-32) stormed back from an 83-62 deficit to take a seemingly safe 105-100 lead with 2:50 to play. But Orlando lost when it put the Hawks on the line for 10 free throws down the stretch.

Up 109-108 with 23 seconds to play, Nelson could have bailed out the Magic, but his shot attempt was blocked by Kyle Korver. After Atlanta took a one-point lead, Davis fired way long on a 12-foot try. And with the Magic needing a three in the final seconds the timing of the play was botched and Nelson’s heave never had much of a chance.

``The ball was tipped on the hand off. The play was drawn up and the timing just didn’t happen the way we wanted it to go,’’ said Nelson, who had 17 points and seven assists in the loss. ``When I actually got a grip on the ball I looked up and saw five seconds on the clock and you have to make an executive decision. You have to figure it out and be a basketball player.’’

The poor finish put a damper on an otherwise stellar revelation made by the Magic the last two nights. Lost in Tuesday’s otherwise forgettable loss in Brooklyn on Tuesday was Orlando’s second unit making 13 of 17 shots and scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter.

That unit, led by reserves Doron Lamb, Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn, also sparked Wednesday’s turnaround. Using Lamb’s long-distance shooting, Harkless’ perimeter defense and speed on the fastbreak and O’Quinn’s toughness in the paint, Orlando trimmed a 19-point deficit to eight by the end of the third quarter. And with 7:56 to play, Orlando had come all of the way back and taken a 96-92 lead on Harkless’ transition dunk and free throw after being fouled.

``We all just enjoy playing with each other – Kyle, Doron, Tobias and myself. It’s just evident how much we like playing together,’’ said Harkless, who had 12 points and three rebounds in 22 minutes. ``It’s like we’re all bringing energy and feeding off each other. Really, we pride ourselves on getting stops. We didn’t run a lot of plays, but we were sharing the ball. Our energy is what brought us back.’’

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