Magic Fall to Hawks Despite Another Solid Game From Cole Anthony

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

Orlando Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford emphasized to his team on Tuesday morning that they needed to play with better effort to start the third quarter than they had the last few games. His squad responded well to that instruction, as they outscored the Atlanta Hawks by nine that period. The problem was they dug themselves a big hole because of a poor second quarter and then struggled early in the fourth in a 112-96 loss.

Player Spotlight

Gary Harris was a key piece for the Nuggets during their rebuild. They went from a 30-win team his first season in Denver to a 54-win club in his fifth year there. Experiencing growing pains, which all young teams do, is something he is very familiar with. Still just 26 years old himself, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound shooting guard has a skillset that Clifford admires. He’s a hard-nosed defender and a capable scorer, which he demonstrated on Tuesday in Atlanta by scoring 14 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field.

Injury Report

For Orlando, Michael Carter-Williams (sprained left ankle), James Ennis III (sore right calf), Markelle Fultz (torn ACL, left knee), Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation), Otto Porter Jr. (left foot pain), and Terrence Ross (back spasms) were out. Not playing for Atlanta were Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery), Danilo Gallinari (right foot soreness), De’Andre Hunter (right knee soreness), Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness), and Tony Snell (sprained right ankle).

Key Stretch

The Magic cut a 19-point deficit to just six late in the third behind strong play from Harris, who made both of his shot attempts that period. However, the Hawks reclaimed momentum in the fourth with a 26-14 run before both teams pulled their starters.

Key Stat

Not a total surprise considering they have the league’s best rebounder in Clint Capela, but the Hawks’ relentlessness on the offensive glass was a huge factor. Atlanta totaled 17 offensive rebounds, with Capela pulling down six of them and John Collins grabbing five of them.

Rookie Watch

Cole Anthony, making his third straight start because of the injury to Carter-Williams, had another strong showing with 17 points, five rebounds and eight assists. He has now scored in double figures 20 times this season, including seven of the eight games he’s appeared in since returning from his rib injury.

Quote of the Night

“I’d like to see us grow as a team. We’ve had these past games since I’ve been back some really good stretches in games, even I think we’ve had up to three really good quarters in a game and we play our tails off. And then we just have one quarter, maybe not even a full quarter where we just kind of relax, catch our breath and that’s when the other team (outplays) us. I’d really like to see us put a full complete game together and just hopefully get a win.” – Anthony on his mindset going into next game.

Up Next

The Magic return home to take on Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Pelicans, up and down all year and currently on the outside looking in of the Western Conference play-in tournament, lost to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday despite getting 33 points and seven rebounds from Williamson and 27 points from Brandon Ingram.

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