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Magic Taken Down by Hot-Shooting Hawks

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Not often this season have Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner both struggled on the same night. But that was the case Wednesday with the Atlanta Hawks in town, as the Magic’s two leading scorers shot a combined 8-of-28 from the floor and 0-of-8 from 3-point range in Orlando’s 111-99 loss at Amway Center.

Top Performers

Making his first start of the season and second of his NBA career, R.J. Hampton scored 15 points. He has now made 30 3-pointers this season after knocking down three of them against the Hawks. All last season, with the Nuggets and Magic combined, he buried 27 of them. Terrence Ross filled up the stat sheet with 18 points, seven rebounds and a career-best eight assists, while Moe Wagner finished with a season-best 19 points.

Key Stat

The Magic took more free throws than the Hawks, outrebounded them, made just one less 3-pointer, and dished out the same number of assists. But Orlando connected on under 40 percent of their floor shots, while Atlanta shot just a shade under 50 percent.

Injury Report

Mo Bamba (right ankle sprain), Gary Harris (left hamstring tightness), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Markelle Fultz (left knee), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain), and Jalen Suggs (fractured right thumb) were out for Orlando. For Atlanta, Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain), Solomon Hill (right hamstring tear), De’Andre Hunter (right wrist), Jalen Johnson (G League – on assignment), Skylar Mays (G League – Two Way), and Onyeka Okongwu (G League – on assignment) were unavailable.

This Day in History

Shaquille O’Neal missed the first 22 games of the 1995-96 season with a thumb injury. His first game back was on Dec. 15, 1995 against the Utah Jazz. Interesting was that he came off the bench that night, something he did just twice during his Magic tenure. He scored 26 points in just 24 minutes, plenty to help Orlando rout Utah. Dennis Scott also poured in 26 points. The Jazz were led by Karl Malone, who posted 24 points and 21 rebounds.

Rivals Report

Expectations were high for the Hawks coming into the season after their stunning run to the Eastern Conference Finals. It still feels like they’re another “star” player away from being serious contenders, but then again nobody truly thought they’d advance as far as they did with this current core. They have more than enough offensive talent, led by Trae Young. Adding a premier on-ball defender would greatly benefit their chances against the East’s elite such as Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

Quote of the Night

“My thing going into this year, I don’t care about any of that. I don’t care about myself. I just want every time people to know that I am there for them. They can talk to me, (and) I’ll be talking to them. If I give energy, the rest will happen. I’m trying to get away from thinking about the game too much and just play and simplify the game a little bit for me and my teammates.” – Moe Wagner

Up Next

For the second time this season, the Magic and their Sunshine State rivals, the Miami Heat, will square off. Tip-off is Friday at 7 p.m. at Amway Center. Their last meeting was on Oct. 25 in South Florida, where Jimmy Butler erupted for 36 points to lead the Heat to the victory. Suggs and Franz Wagner each scored 15 for the Magic. The Heat will be traveling in from Philadelphia, where they defeated the 76ers behind a career-high 26-point effort from Gabe Vincent.