The Union Recorder

Local Sports

December 13, 2012

Hawks hold off late charge to beat Magic 86-80

ORLANDO, Fla. — Piecing together lineups has become the norm for Atlanta coach Larry Drew in recent weeks, with injuries consistently causing havoc for his roster.

When his team has faced the Orlando Magic lately, though, just showing up seems to be enough.

Josh Smith and Jeff Teague scored 16 points apiece, Al Horford added 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Hawks held off a late charge by the Magic for an 86-80 victory Wednesday night.

Atlanta extended its regular-season win streak against Orlando to eight and earned its second win over its division rival this season.

Arron Afflalo scored 16 points and J.J. Redick added 13 for the Magic, who were able to dig out of a huge first-half hole, but couldn't overcome 16 turnovers that led to 24 points.

"Orlando made us fight for it," Horford said. "Even when you thought they were out of the game, they just kept coming."

Horford said he and Smith are slowly getting more comfortable taking the lead offensively in games without departed guard Joe Johnson to lean on. Johnson was traded to Brooklyn in the offseason.

"Now with us having to carry a big part of the offense, I think it kind of forces us to be more aggressive offensively and just keep finding each other," Horford said.

The Magic didn't do themselves any favors on offense, connecting on only 31 of 81 shots, in dropping their fourth straight home game. Orlando gets a chance to end the skid Friday against Golden State.

It was the Magic's first home game since Nov. 30 following a five-game trip, but it hardly was a welcome return. Atlanta led by as many as 19 in the third quarter before a late Orlando run trimmed it to 12 entering the fourth.

The Magic pulled within six late, but costly turnovers and their inability to get stops on defense helped the Hawks secure the win. The loss marked Orlando's fourth straight game with at least 15 turnovers.

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