“We told each it’s a must-win game,″ Murray said.
The Hawks, who took sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division with Washington's loss, approached the game with a sense of desperation.
“They are a team that’s hungry for a win and so are we,” coach Nate McMillan said before the game. “They’ve dropped their last five, we’ve dropped our last three, and it’s all about who wants it the most tonight.”
It didn't take long to get him an answer.
By the time AJ Griffin hit Atlanta's first 3-pointer, the Hawks led by 14 points. Young's first 3-pointer put Atlanta up 66-45 and he was just heating up after spending most of the first half setting up teammates.
“We played one full game today,” Young said. “It was nice to have a lead early and still close the game out. Just my ability to keep them off balance was important, I think. They have a lot of tall guys who alter shots, so it’s important to keep them of balance.”
Led by Capel and Jarrett Culver (12 rebounds), Atlanta had a 49-33 rebound advantage.
"The rebounding obviously hurt us," Magic coach Jamal Mosley said. “I think it comes to effort and focus. Regardless of who’s in the game, there’s a matter of just finding a man, putting a body on him, boxing out and going to to get the rebound. You can’t be watching the ball go up.”
When the Magic rallied in the fourth quarter, Young, Capela and Murray got back in the game for a few minutes. But Orlando never got closer than 15 points.
“It’s hard to win this league,” Young said. “So just getting a win was important to close out this road trip.”
Hawks: John Collins, who injured his left ankle after making a dunk that didn't count at the halftime buzzer, did not play in the second half. ... G Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee), F Jalen Johnson (ankle) and G Justin Holiday (COVID-19) were declared out before the game, and the availability of De'Andre Hunter, who reported right thigh tightness Tuesday night, was a game-time decision. Hunter played only seven minutes.
Magic: Fultz, who fractured a left toe in early October and missed the first 21 games, had eight points, four assists and two steals in 17 minutes. ...Anthony played 24 and had 11 points and four rebounds before fouling out . . . G Gary Harris started, but did not play in the second half due to a strained right hamstring. ... C Mo Bamba (back), G Jalen Suggs (ankle), F Chuma Okeke (ankle) and C Wendell Carter Jr. (foot) were unavailable for the Magic. ... Orlando's opponents have shot 54% or better in three straight games while scoring 186 points in the paint.
Hawks: Host Denver on Friday.
Magic: Play at Cleveland on Friday.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP--Sports
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