Hawks Harass Magic at Amway
The Magic head into the All-Star Break a deflated 15-37 roster that can’t conjure up aspirations at competitive success for the remainder of this ’12-’13 campaign. Losing 108-76 to a Hawks squad that flat out owns you is another major deterrent of many this group has dealt with this season. That 12-13 record seems like several lifetimes ago now. Tonight was all about Josh Smith’s 30 points and 10 rebounds in thirty minutes of action, as well as Al Horford’s 26 points and 12 boards. It was just pure dominance from ATL’s frontcourt. The Magic couldn’t get a single player to score more than 10 points.
Coach Vaughn on his team’s focus: “The game before the break it boils down to which team is going to have the right mental approach and that team will give themselves a chance to win and that’s not anything that I didn’t say to the guys in the locker room…”
After another abysmal showing, Orlando has not beaten the Hawks in the regular season since November 8, 2010 as Orlando came into Wednesday evening having lost the previous 8 meetings with Atlanta. Make it nine. The 32-point shellacking pales in comparison to the Magic’s 35-point December 29th thrashing to the Raptors, and of course the 39-point walloping at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 9th. Orlando is just abhorrent at Amway Center this season, now 9-18 at home.
Coach Vaughn on the All-Star Break: “The break, if you use it the right way it’s great for you. Every guy in there at some point their body is not 100 percent…let your mind heal which is just as important.”
The first half of this contest was just a microcosm of how painstakingly great the Hawks have played this Orlando franchise over the past two and a half years. Hawks put on a hustle clinic, with a 30-18 rebounding advantage, 9-0 beatdown in fast break points, and a laughable 14-2 points in the paint gap. Larry Drew’s side was drilling 3-pointers and getting to the free throw line at will. So it’s to no one’s shock that the Hawks held a 57-36 lead in the locker room.
The situation didn’t improve in the 3rd period by any means. If I was a casual sports viewer who found out about the Hedo Turkoglu pregnant female feline urine story before tip-off, I would have assumed that the entire Magic team was juicing this season and stopped using PEDs once Hedo got caught last week. This Magic squad looked so deflated and out of sync. Then again, these frustratingly ugly games were occurring late in the tenure of Dwight and SVG. Orlando trailed 90-56 entering the 4th period. You could’ve turned your televisions off as Josh Smith and Al Horford had combined for fifty-six of their own points at that instant.
Jacque on Nicholson and Vucevic’s All-Star participation: “We are as an organization extremely excited. I’m looking forward to watching those guys on TV, seeing their Magic jerseys.”
But if you are a Magic fan and you did watch the final 12 minutes, I salute you. You were rewarded with a gravity-defying DeQuan Jones alley oop conversion. That’s about it. Orlando now doesn’t prepare for their Tuesday February 19th matchup against the Bobcats until Monday afternoon. Until then, enjoy Houston’s All-Star Weekend activities and cheer on Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson in the Rising Stars exhibition Friday night.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.