Orlando Magic Grades: Atlanta Hawks 101, Orlando Magic 93

The Orlando Magic could not corral the Atlanta Hawks as a second half rally sent them to their worst loss of the season. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic could not corral the Atlanta Hawks as a second half rally sent them to their worst loss of the season. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic never found their offensive rhythm even after building an 18-point lead, falling at home to the Atlanta Hawks in a crushing defeat.

93. 38. Final. 101. 125

The Orlando Magic’s boat was already sinking when Alex Len collected the ball at the top of the key and drove past the closing out Markelle Fultz for a one-handed jam to end the quarter. The Atlanta Hawks had gotten past the Orlando Magic’s outburst of defense and erased an 18-point deficit on the Amway Center floor to retake the lead.

This young Hawks team playing without their star player had the confidence and mojo and they kept attacking. They worked past whoever was defending them on the perimeter and ducked it into the big man at the dunker spot or kicked it out for three in the corner.

The Hawks did what every good basketball team has to do. They moved it inside and out finding the flow and the open man with relative ease. The Magic could get a few stops but not much.

And so it did not help when Orlando’s struggles offensive continued to pop up. The Magic, after going 12 for 20 and scoring 36 points in the second quarter went completely cold for the rest of the game.

Any brief moment of clarity offensively went out the window. They could not even get the ball to Nikola Vucevic for his reliable scoring in the low-post. That inefficient play was about the best offense the Magic could muster as they struggled to create even good shots.

It was clear the Magic were forcing their offense. And the defense was not going to save them with live-ball turnovers or clear offensive opportunities. This was the Hawks’ night and the Magic could not generate the energy to stop them.

Orlando might still sit in a playoff position. The team might know it is better than what it has shown so far this year. But there may not be a more rock-bottom defeat so far this year than a 101-93 loss to the Hawks in the final game of the calendar year.

The Magic scored just 36 points in the second half, shooting 16 for 45 (35.6 percent) from the field and 1 for 13 from three. Orlando’s offense lacked any kind of movement throughout the game, reverting quickly to straight pick and rolls and post-ups for Nikola Vucevic almost immediately.

Orlando committed seven turnovers leading to 13 Atlanta points. Many of those were just lazy passes or plays where the team got stuck in bad spots. The Magic were unable to get themselves moving for much of the night.

And, once again, Orlando was searching for some answers and searching for the team they know they are supposed to be.

B. About the only good thing the Orlando Magic had going for them offensively was Nikola Vucevic. He scored 27 points on 12-for-19 shooting and hit two 3-pointers. He floated to the corners and hit 3-pointers off drives and worked the post to his — <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC

C+. Similarly, <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

MARKELLE FULTZ. C-. <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic

D. The Orlando Magic are depleted right now. Coach <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. TERRENCE ROSS

A-. The Atlanta Hawks know they are not a perfect team. They turned the ball over 21 times and even up 12 late in the game, there was still a feeling that they could blow it if the Orlando Magic buckled down defensively and started hitting shots. The Magic were never completely out of the game even as they gave up the lead.<p>But the Hawks deserve all the credit in the world for pushing through those mistakes and saying into the game. Orlando did not have the juice or momentum at any point of the game offensively, even as they built their lead. They were not going through the motions but they were not playing efficiently and effectively either. If the Hawks kept pushing, they would have their chance.</p><p>Atlanta was able to unlock the defense by attacking the guards and getting into the paint. They moved the ball and hit enough outside shots to creep back into the game. The Magic looked frustrated and made frustration plays that gave the Hawks easy chances. Atlanta did not play their best, but they played with purpose and fire. Something Orlando lacked.</p>. 7-27. 15th East. ATLANTA HAWKS

Next. Orlando Magic must continue to be patient. dark

The Orlando Magic are 14-19 and eighth in the Eastern Conference, three games behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh and 1.5 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for eighth. They return to action Wednesday on the road against the Washington Wizards.