NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Orlando
(Monday, March 10th)
Final Score: Orlando 123, Atlanta 112
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Hedo Turkoglu posted the second triple-double of his career -- pouring in 23 points while dishing out 13 assists and pulling down 10 rebounds -- and the Magic rode a record-tying first half to a 123-112 hammering of the playoff-hopeful Hawks.
Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy explained of Turkoglu: "I don't really think his game has gotten better; I just think, based on our roster, he's gotten more minutes and more opportunities with the ball. I think his skill level has always been there...(and) he's responded to both the opportunity and the challenge of taking on more responsibility. His first half was pretty special."
Turkoglu tallied 17 of his 23 points in the opening half, while Dwight Howard had 19 of his 26 in the first 24 minutes of play, en route to a 74-point explosion over two quarters that matched the Magic franchise record for most points in the first half of a contest.
Howard hauled in 16 rebounds on the night for Orlando, which has triumphed in four of its last five outings and seven of the last nine. Rashard Lewis provided 22 points, six boards and four assists, and Keith Bogans scored 19 off the bench. The Southeast Division leaders have won six of their last seven affairs at Amway Arena, climbing to 19-12 in front of the home crowd.
Jameer Nelson added 13 points and four assists for the Magic, while Carlos Arroyo chipped in with 11 points.
Joe Johnson contributed 27 points and distributed 11 assists for the Hawks, who still maintained a one-half game lead on New Jersey for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference, as the Nets fell to Houston on Monday. Mike Bibby gave 23 points and six assists, and Josh Smith and Salim Stoudamire scored 16 points apiece. Smith also grabbed 12 boards and served up five assists in the loss, which was Atlanta's fifth in its last six showdowns.
Though the Hawks slipped to a miserable 7-25 on the road this season, they did defeat the Magic in Orlando back on December 10 in the only other matchup between the teams this season. Atlanta came away with a 98-87 win that night, and had won three of the last four meetings in the series before tonight's defeat.
The Hawks were the only Eastern Conference club that had not been handed a loss by Orlando this season. That all changed in a flash on Monday night.
With the score 43-40 at the 7:36 mark of the second stanza, the Magic caught fire, outscoring the Hawks 31-13 over the duration of the half. Turkoglu highlighted the game-changing surge, matching Atlanta's team output with 13 points of his own, while also handing out four helpers and hauling in four rebounds.
Appropriately, Turkoglu finished the flurry, burying a three-pointer as time expired. Orlando carried a comfortable 74-53 cushion into the locker room.
The Magic shot a tremendous 61.4 percent from the field in the half, and an equally impressive 56.3 percent from three-point range, including 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) in the second quarter. It marked the 65th time in as many games this season that Orlando converted at least five from beyond the arc, setting an NBA record.
Out of the break, Atlanta cut the deficit to 10 points with a 17-7 streak. When Smith sunk a layup with just over two minutes to play, the Hawks trailed 95-85, but that was as close as they came to threatening the Magic.
"We came up a little short tonight," remarked Johnson. "We dug ourselves in a deep hole and could not get out it."
Orlando netted a pair of baskets before the end of the third period, pulling ahead 99-85 with the final frame upcoming.
The fourth quarter proved to be nothing but a technicality, as the Magic were on top by as many as 20 points.
"They told me during the game that (to get the triple-double) I needed just one (rebound)," said Turkoglu. "I was like, (to Howard), 'I just need one and then you can have all the others.' Finally he gave up and gave me one, so that (was) nice."
The Magic jumped out to a 12-2 lead from the start. Nelson stroked a pair from beyond the arc, the last of which capped the burst and opened up a 10-point margin just under 2 1/2 minutes into the affair.
Orlando stretched its advantage to as much as 14 points during the first frame, though Atlanta clipped it to 38-26 by the conclusion of the quarter.
"Defense is just effort," commented Atlanta head coach Mike Woodson, "and we try to make changes throughout the course of the game, just depending on what guys are doing what on the floor. We never put ourselves in that position tonight, the way we started the game. We got down early, came back, got down again. We just can't keep coming back against good teams like that."
The Hawks closed the gap to 40-38 with a three-point play followed by three straight treys. Johnson's bucket from beyond the arc with 8:43 remaining made it a two-point tilt.
Orlando improved to 41-24 on the season, its best win total since the 2002-03 campaign (42-40)...Atlanta fell to 26-37...Marvin Williams added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, who haven't made the playoffs since the 1998-99 campaign...The Magic's 123-point output set a season-high for points scored in regulation...Howard notched his 56th double-double of the season...Turkoglu also recorded a triple-double on February 4 in the 107-98 loss to Dallas, when he finished with 13 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds...Lewis has scored at least 21 points in four of his last five games...Howard has knocked down 31- of-43 free throws in his last four games, a 72.1 percent clip. He is a 60.6 percent career shooter at the stripe...Orlando's top three scorers (Howard, Turkoglu, Lewis) combined for 71 points...The two teams combined for 11 double-digit scorers...Atlanta shot 51.1 percent from the field and 64.7 percent from beyond the arc in the loss, while the Magic ended with an identical 56.3 percent field goal and three-point shooting percentage.
03/11 00:52:54 ET