NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Orlando
(Monday, March 28th)
Final Score: Orlando 109, Atlanta 102
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Steve Francis had 30 points and 10 assists to lead the Orlando Magic over the Atlanta Hawks, 109-102, at TD Waterhouse Centre.
Dwight Howard added 17 points and 10 boards and Grant Hill had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who still sit on the outside of the Eastern conference playoff race. DeShawn Stevenson recorded 14 points for Orlando, which ended a three-game slide and sits in ninth place in the conference standings.
"It was a great feeling," said Howard on the win. "We wanted to come in here and bury them from the beginning and I think it started with our defense."
Josh Childress and Predrag Drobnjak each had 14 points for the Hawks, who have dropped six in a row and 22 of their last 23 contests. Tyronn Lue, Tom Gugliotta and Tony Delk each had 13 points, as Atlanta remains at the bottom of the league standings and with every loss ensures itself of the best chances to receive the first overall pick in the NBA Draft.
"If we knew why or how to fix it, it would be fixed by now," said Childress of the Hawks' woes. "It just happens. At some point in time the momentum changes or we don't come up with a rebound, or they start getting to the free throw line...then we look up and we are down 10 or 12."
The Magic never trailed in the game, scoring the first four points and holding a 12-9 lead 5 1/2 minutes into the contest. That's when Orlando went on a 12-0 run to take control. Francis had five points during the run, capping it with a jumper at the 4:22 mark for a 24-9 cushion.
The Magic later scored the final six points of the quarter to take a commanding 32-15 lead into the second.
In the second, the Magic extended to a 53-31 lead on a Hill short jumper with 4:39 remaining and the club cruised into the locker room with a 62-48 advantage.
It was much of the same in the third quarter. Atlanta drew within 68-58 on a Lue basket 3 1/2 minutes into the frame, but Orlando scored seven straight points to again pull away. The Magic went into the fourth with an 85-67 lead.
The lead ballooned to 98-75 midway through the fourth when Pat Garrity hit a three-pointer. The Hawks made it respectable by closing out the game with a 13-2 run after the Magic removed many of their starters.
Garrity ended with 12 points for the Magic, who captured the season series from the Hawks 3-1.
Orlando recorded its first win on a Monday night this season (1-9)...Magic head coach Chris Jent improved to 2-4 since taking over the team...The Hawks have dropped three in a row on the road...Orlando ended a four-game home losing streak...Orlando's Jameer Nelson left the game with strained ribs.
03/28 23:28:52 ET