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News » Magic-Hawks Preview


Magic-Hawks Preview


Magic-Hawks Preview
Regardless of where they're playing lately, it hasn't made much of a difference to the surging Orlando Magic.

The Southeast Division leaders look to set a franchise record for road victories in a season Saturday when they visit the Atlanta Hawks, which has won five straight at home over Orlando.

The Magic (46-25) opened the season with a franchise-record seven consecutive road wins, and currently have the league's second-best road record at 23-12.

Orlando, which has won six of its last eight away from Amway Arena, needs one more road victory to set a new club mark. The 1995-96 team went 23-18 away from Orlando - the only time it's ever finished with a winning road record.

The Magic have split their first two games of the season with the Hawks, but they haven't had much success in Atlanta lately.

This will be Orlando's first trip this season to Philips Arena, where it hasn't won since Nov. 26, 2004. After this game, the Magic have five road games remaining, including another trip to Atlanta on April 15.

"I think we've got to have a mature approach to every game because all these games mean something to us," Orlando's Dwight Howard said after Friday's 113-95 victory over Philadelphia." Not just try to get the regular season over with, and get to the playoffs. All these games are preparing us. Every day is something to learn to get ready for the playoffs."

The Magic have won 14 of their last 18 to take a 9 1/2-game lead over second-place Washington in the Southeast with just 11 games remaining.

On Friday, Orlando made its first six 3-point attempts and finished 14-of-23 from beyond the arc. The Magic have hit 14 3-pointers in each of their last three games.

Orlando led by as much as 34 on Friday, and Howard played just 23 minutes, but still managed to record his 61st double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Howard is averaging 20.0 points and 17.0 boards in two games against the Hawks this season.

Hedo Turkoglu, who had 16 points and nine assists on Friday, finished with 23 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his second career triple-double in Orlando's 123-112 win over Atlanta on March 10.

The Hawks (29-39) lost to New Jersey 125-117 on Wednesday, snapping a three-game winning streak.

Atlanta, which had allowed an average of 95.7 points during the run, led by 13 early in the second half, but sank only 15 of 40 shots after halftime.

"We have to tighten up," the Hawks' Joe Johnson said. "I think they wanted it more than we did in the second half. They came out in the third, made a run and took the lead and we never recovered from that. We have to learn to go up another level."

Johnson finished with a team-high 24 points on Wednesday, and is averaging 33.3 on 20-of-32 shooting from 3-point range in four home games this month. He is averaging 31.0 points in his last four games against the Magic.

The Hawks are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, just one-half game ahead of the Nets. New Jersey won the season-series with Atlanta, which means it has the tiebreaker. The Nets have 13 games left, while the Hawks have 14 remaining.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 22, 2008

 

 
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