Orlando Magic Grades: Atlanta Hawks 116, Orlando Magic 93

The Orlando Magic struggled to contain Trae Young in another loss. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic struggled to contain Trae Young in another loss. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

125. Final. 93. 38. 116

The trouble for the Orlando Magic started in the first quarter. Nobody seemed to realize it then though.

The Magic were scrappy to keep the game close and at least within nominal striking distance. But the early moments of the game felt like a massive feeling out. Orlando was willing to get nasty defensively with Cole Anthony poking the ball away from Trae Young.

Two Atlanta Hawks players chased the ball as Anthony tried to get between them and recover the ball. But he did not take the final, necessary step. He tried to bend over to pick up the ball instead of diving on the floor to secure it. Anthony had the clear step to get it. Instead, he fumbled it out of bounds for a Hawks ball.

It was still a good hustle play and the Hawks did not make the Magic pay for the miscue. But it was still symbolic of something. Orlando was able to do some good things, but could not build on it enough to put a dent in a tired Hawks team.

The Magic fell behind by double digits early and were climbing uphill. They played with effort but could not hit shots. They could barely generate any good shots consistently.

Then the Hawks’ 3-point shooting snapped to attention. Before Orlando knew it, the lead ballooned to 20. Then up to 30.

The Magic kept fighting to the end. They cut the lead down but, like Tuesday’s loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, never enough to threaten in a 116-93 win for the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on Thursday.

The Orlando Magic struggled to keep pace with the Atlanta Hawks and ultimately gave way to another blowout loss on the road.

The Magic ended the game shooting 38.3-percent from the floor. It was simply not good enough to remain competitive against a quality team. Orlando got too stuck trying to attack off the dribble and struggled to move it around the perimeter.

The Hawks were able to close lanes quickly and force some turnovers. It was just a matter of time before their shots started to fall and they built some distance between them and the Magic.

Orlando just could not execute well enough to stay within striking distance and could not do reel Atlanta back in with their playmaking and scoring. Everything just collapsed at the end of the day.

. G. Orlando Magic. COLE ANTHONY. C+

No one should fault Cole Anthony for trying. I know I called out his effort some in that lead, but Anthony was trying to get after it and be a bit disruptive defensively. He had good energy for much of the night and was trying to get the team moving in the right direction. His stat line certainly suggests that with 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Anthony wedged himself into the paint well off the dribble even if teammates were not exactly making themselves available.

But Anthony really struggled defensively. He constantly got caught up on screens, allowing Trae Young to get downhill into the paint easily. From there Young could either hit the floater or kick out to shooters. And the Magic were in scramble mode defensively. The team’s pick-and-roll defense was just poor overall.

B. . G. Orlando Magic. R.J. HAMPTON

R.J. Hampton continues to impress and tease a wide array of skills, even if a lot of his damage is coming late in games with the result already determined. As a rookie though, these moments are still vital and educational. All the signs are super encouraging.

Hampton finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including 4 for 5 from three. He added eight rebounds and four assists as he continues to pile up numbers in the box score. He plays with unbridled energy and speed and that still gets him in trouble sometimes. He struggled to shoot in the first half and was forcing his way into the paint far too much.

C. Orlando Magic. WENDELL CARTER. C+.

Wendell Carter is back and he is clearly still getting his legs under him as he continues to shoot pretty ineffectively. But there are still some nice signs of his potential and progress. Especially when the Orlando Magic are able to get him working in the pick and roll. Carter found his groove in the second half working the pick and roll.

But otherwise, Carter struggled to get going. He was able to collect rebounds on the offensive glass but always needed help outmuscling Clint Capela. He finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds (six offensive). There were good moments for sure for Carter and it is good to have him back. But the attention to detail and rhythm is not quite there yet, continuing troubling trends from before his injury.

A. . C. Orlando Magic. DONTA HALL

Donta Hall should be looking to make an impact any way he can. So consider Thursday’s game a good sign. He stood out as the Orlando Magic tried to creep back into the game in the fourth quarter. Hall ran the floor and looked to get to the rim while remaining active defensively. Hall just needs to fly around and make things happen. That is what he did in scoring a career-high 11 points and grabbing five rebounds. That at least stood out.

40-31. 4th East. ATLANTA HAWKS. A-.

The Atlanta Hawks did not shoot the ball well in the first half. In fact, they shot just 43.6-percent for the game and made only 14 3-pointers. This was not the kind of game they should have been up 30 points in or in control the rest of the game. That is a credit to the Hawks who played an extremely professional game, executing their offense and defense through some clear fatigue. They buried the Orlando Magic in the end and were never really threatened.

That came because of a scoring blitz in the third quarter when they finally broke through to pull away for good. Bogdan Bogdanovic torched the Magic for 27 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Trae Young was no slouch with 18 points and seven assists as he did whatever he wanted and never really had to turn on the scoring jets.

Next. Orlando Magic losing their chance to experiment. dark

The Magic are now 21-49, 14th in the Eastern Conference and tied for the third-worst record in the NBA with two games remaining. The Orlando Magic are back in action Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers for a two-game road set to close the season.