NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 9th (All times eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (22-12) at Orlando Magic (28-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Orlando Magic will attempt to further separate themselves from the Southeast Division pack tonight at Amway Arena, where the club shoots for a sweep of a home-and-home series with the second-place Atlanta Hawks.
Orlando opened up a five-game lead on the Hawks in the division standings with Wednesday's 106-102 victory in Atlanta. The win was the second in a row and 11th in 13 games for the Magic, who own the NBA's best road record with a 13-5 mark as the visitor this season.
Dwight Howard led the way for Orlando with 23 points and 19 rebounds, while Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu each poured in 20 points on the evening.
Atlanta, which suffered only its third home defeat in 18 tries this season, received 21 points and nine rebounds from Josh Smith. Mike Bibby had 17 points and nine assists in the loss, with Marvin Williams logging 16 points for the Hawks.
The Magic now get to return to Amway Arena, where the team has won 10 consecutive contests and is on its longest home win streak since a 12-game run from March 10-April 15, 2006. Orlando hasn't lost as the host since a 100-95 setback to Houston on November 22.
Orlando has built a stellar 15-3 home record so far during the 2008-09 campaign, although one of those losses came to the Hawks in the season opener. Joe Johnson scored 25 points and Smith compiled 17 points and 10 rebounds to lift Atlanta to a 99-85 decision in that game.
The Hawks have emerged victorious in three of their last four visits to Amway Arena.
In injury news, Hawks backup center Zaza Pachulia missed Wednesday's tilt due to flu-like symptoms and is questionable to return to the lineup this evening.
01/09 10:31:28 ET