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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 9th (All times eastern)

Atlanta Hawks (23-12) at Orlando Magic (24-12), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - First place in the NBA's Southeast Division is on the line tonight when the Atlanta Hawks visit central Florida to take on the Orlando Magic.

Neither team has been lighting it up recently but the Hawks climbed to within one-half game of the division-leading Magic last night thanks to a 93-85 win over Boston coupled with an Orlando loss to Washington.

All five Hawks starters finished in double figures against the C's and Jamal Crawford scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, as Atlanta held off Boston, 93-85, at Philips Arena.

Mike Bibby donated 17 points and seven assists, while Joe Johnson added 12 and eight for the Hawks, whose win over the Nets on Wednesday snapped a four-game slide. Al Horford and Josh Smith each recorded double-doubles, with the former logging 16 points and 10 rebounds and the latter donating 15 and 11 to the winning cause.

"I thought we bounced back from a first half that was OK but could have been better," Crawford said. "When we got the lead we didn't relinquish it...We're showing some growth."

The struggling Magic dropped their fourth straight contest on Friday when Antawn Jamison led all scorers with 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, as the Wizards earned a 104-97 win over Orlando at the Verizon Center.

Dwight Howard had a team-leading 23 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando, which fell apart in the fourth quarter being outscored 33-20. J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus each netted 14 points off the bench.

Vince Carter finished with eight points, but left the game in the second quarter with a bruised left shoulder and did not return. After colliding with a Wizards player near the three-point arc, the forward stayed down on the floor for several minutes, clutching the shoulder until he was helped to the locker room by a team trainer. Carter's status is unknown for tonight's contest but it's likely the former All-Star will not play.

Orlando has won four straight over the Hawks, including a 93-76 rout in Dixie on Nov. 26.

01/09 10:30:18 ET


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