The Atlanta Hawks were without three players against the Orlando Magic on Sunday, and it really showed throughout the course of the game. Coming off of three straight overtime games this week, Atlanta struggled on both ends of the court without two of their starters, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll.
The team came out flat and everyone looked like they had a case of tired legs after their overtime win against the Charlotte Bobcats. However, you have to give the Magic credit for taking advantage of a depleted Hawks team because they really were the better team.
Atlanta had no answer for the interior play of the Magic. Whenever Orlando got the ball on the offensive end, the team really looked to attack the basket without the threat of a shot blocker for the Hawks. Nikola Vucevic was a force inside the paint and really caused havoc on both ends of the court. Offensively, Vucevic dominated the interior of the Hawks’ defense because Atlanta really had no one that could match up with the big center for Orlando.
He went 8-of-11 from the field scoring 16 points on the offensive end. His impact on defense, though, is what made the difference for the Magic. He did not allow Atlanta to attack the rim and forced the Hawks to rely on their ability to hit the jump shot. The Hawks have shot the ball well all season, but tonight they relied a little too much on their ability to hit the 3-ball.
The Hawks attempted an unbelievable 39 three-pointers in the game, which was 18 more than the Magic attempted. That many 3-pointers is not a recipe for success for the Hawks going forward.
Orlando did not only dominate on the defensive side of the ball, but the Magic’s offense also gave one of their better performances of the season. The Magic shot an incredible 55 percent from the field in tonight’s win. Aaron Affalo led the charge for the Magic, which is really something he has done all season. He provided 21 points on 7-of-10 from the field and also dished out seven assists.
After another good performance, I believe it’s time for Affalo to get some recognition for his play this season. With the Magic, he is quietly putting up around 22 points per game and has a case for a spot on the NBA All-Star team.