Vucevic leads Magic comeback for 117-110 OT win over Hawks
ATLANTA (AP) — A big comeback gave the Orlando Magic their second win over the Hawks in two days and renewed belief they can stage a similar rally in their season.
Nikola Vucevic scored 25 of his 28 points after halftime, and Orlando rallied from 20 points down to beat Atlanta 117-110 in overtime on Monday night.
The Magic beat the Hawks 96-94 on Sunday on a last-second 18-footer by Vucevic. The 7-foot center was the difference again on Monday night, when he had 13 rebounds and six assists.
Thanks to a 2-12 record in January, Orlando is tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference. The wins over the Hawks provide hope for a turnaround.
“It’s big. It’s really big for us,” said Victor Oladipo.
Added Elfrid Payton, who had 20 points, “It’s definitely a step forward.”
Orlando trailed by 20 in the opening period and by 18 in the third. It took its first lead at 96-94 on Mario Hezonja’s 3-pointer with 3:33 remaining in regulation.
Orlando scored the first six points of overtime, including a jumper by Vucevic, who also had 13 rebounds. Kyle Korver’s 3-pointer pulled the Hawks to 112-110, but Evan Fournier answered with a 3 for the Magic.
Al Horford led Atlanta with 27 points and Paul Millsap had 22 points and 13 rebounds.
The Hawks were hot while building the big lead in the opening period, but Orlando’s defense kept playing hard.
“We got enough stops to win,” said Orlando coach Scott Skiles.
Millsap made one of two free throws to tie the score at 101 late in regulation. Millsap blocked a shot by Oladipo, leaving the Hawks with 1.2 seconds. Millsap took the inbounds pass, took a step back and sank a short jumper — but it came after the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.
“We lost our focus at times,” Horford said. ” ... We’ve had this problem all year where we get up and we give up leads. It’s hard to take.”
Atlanta trailed 30-19 after the first quarter of Sunday’s 96-94 loss at Orlando. One day later, the Hawks flipped the script and led 30-18 after one period. They led 71-53 late in the third.
“When you’re up in the third quarter like that, we have to find a way to be better,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “I think we’ve got to be better late in games — myself, the players, everybody.”
Vucevic scored 12 points in the third period, including the last two baskets in an 11-0 run.
Oladipo left the floor slowly, supported by trainers, after taking a hard fall with about 5 minutes remaining in regulation. He returned to the game after being escorted to the locker room. He said he was staggered by a hit to his nose but did not have a concussion.
The Hawks’ confidence early in the game showed in their shots — and their dance moves. Jeff Teague did a little shimmy as he stood all alone in the corner after catching a pass in the first period. Teague paused, did a little shake, and then sank the 3-pointer for a 22-8 lead as fans roared.
EVEN HARRY WAS HOT
Things went so well for the Hawks in the first half that even their mascot couldn’t miss. During a timeout, Harry the Hawk hit nothing but net on a half-court shot — with his back to the basket. Harry celebrated by dabbing on his way off the court.
Magic: F Tobias Harris (sprained left ankle) missed his second straight game. ... Fournier had 16 points. Hezonja and Smith had 14 points each. Aaron Gordon had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Hawks: Kent Bazemore had 13 rebounds. ... Tiago Splitter (right hip) missed his fifth straight game and is expected to rest through the All-Star break. ... The Hawks assigned C Edy Tavares to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League. Tavares has averaged 9.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in 10 D-League games this season.
Magic: Host San Antonio on Wednesday.
Hawks: At Chicago on Wednesday.