Jonathan Issac mentioned that in the morning shoot-around that the Orlando Magic had a lazer focus about them. Eight-one first half points later, the Orlando had set the franchise record for points in a half. That allowed the Magic to take care of business at home by the score of 149-115 over the Atlanta Hawks.
“Oh absolutely, I mean we had a lot- I mean we had a lot of guys play well, really well. I thought Jonathan Issac was just, both ends, before watching the film, just like I told them, just unbelievable. He came out well offensively, hit the three, he was running the floor, I think he had four defections by himself in the first quarter and a lot of other guys were very good too, but again before watching the film, he really stood out to me.”
-Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford on his team’s focus and energy against the Hawks.
Issac scored 10 of the Magic’s first 20 points and the Magic hit 10 of their first 12 shots and were up by 18 points midway through first quarter. Issac finished with 18 points in the game.
“Eight? We got that far? Or is it two? They came out and they shot it well. We came out and we were really… funny. We were really different. And obviously there’s a lot that they’ve got invested in this game and they came out and showed it and we were never a part of this tonight.”
-Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce on the opening eight minutes
The shorthanded Hawks couldn’t get much offense going and after shooting 32% in the opening quarter, they were down 42-18 at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks were without rotation players Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, Kevin Huerter and Miles Plumlee and it showed.
“We are playing a team that’s obviously fight for a playoff spot and we are obviously a lot of guys down. It is tough coming out here, but shots just weren’t falling for us and Fournier hitting everything, so this is something that you just have to go with because we remain down.”
-Hawks Point Guard Trae Young
With so many players out, Hawks defense allowed the Magic to hit 66% from the floor, hit 9 three pointers and allowed Orlando to outrebound them 33-18 in the record setting opening half. Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross both had 17 points at the half.
In the second half, it was more of the same as the Magic extended the lead to as many as 40 points in the fourth quarter and it allowed Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford to allow the starters to rest some in the final quarter.
With 4 of the 5 teams chasing the final 3 playoff spots in action on Friday night, the Magic winning on their home court puts them closer to clinching a spot in next week’s playoffs.
Speaking of the other teams in the East:
- Detroit Lost to Oklahoma City
- Brooklyn had the night off
- Miami lost to Minnesota
- Charlotte won at home against Toronto
- 6. Orlando 40-40
- 7. Brooklyn- 39-40
- 8. Detroit- 39-40
- 9. Miami- 38-41 ( 1 game back from Detroit)
- 10. Charlotte- 37-42 (2 games back from Detroit)
Orlando’s home regular season is complete and their next home game would be game 3 of the Eastern Conference playoffs if they made it. They play their final 2 games on the regular season on the road as they take on the Boston Celtics on Sunday and Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night on the final day of the season.
Points Of Note
- Vucevic finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds
- Ross hit 6 3-three pointers (25 points) and his 206 3-pointers made this season is the most for any player who hasn’t started a game this season.