The Atlanta Hawks had what is possibly their largest weakness fully exposed in Tuesday’s 109-92 loss to the Orlando Magic on their home home court at Phillips Arena. Simply put, the team lacks size and predictably struggles on the boards versus opponents that feature strong interior players.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic was the main culprit in exposing the Hawks’ shortcomings in the paint throughout this contest. The third-year pro from Switzerland continued his strong early-season play with 12 points, 15 rebounds and one blocked shot. Backing him up in the post were Orlando forwards Andrew Nicholson and Glen Davis, each of which ended the night with eight rebounds.
Orlando’s scoring came from an increasingly familiar source. Veteran swingman Arron Afflalo continued what has so far been a career campaign by putting up 26 points, three assists and a couple of steals. He came into the game shooting north of 50 percent from downtown and continued that pace by knocking down 4-of-7 against the Hawks’ perimeter defense. Nicholson was also a factor in this department as he tied with rookie teammate Victor Oladipo for second on the team with 18 points scored.
The Magic now stand at 5-9 as they return home to take on Evan Turner and the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. The Hawks meanwhile will look to improve upon their 8-7 mark as they travel to Texas for a Thanksgiving Eve battle with the Houston Rockets and a familiar foe in former Orlando big man Dwight Howard.