The Atlanta Hawks outlasted the Magic 86-80 Wednesday night, extending the winning-streak to eight straight over Orlando, including a 2-0 advantage this season.
Josh Smith paced five Hawks in double-figures with team-high’s of 16 points and five blocks, while adding 11 rebounds and three assists to his stat sheet. Al Horford posted his seventh consecutive double-double performance with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Jeff Teague added 16 points, four boards, three assists and three steals. Guards Lou Williams (11) and Devin Harris (10) also reached double-figures in the contest.
Aaron Afflalo led the Magic with 16 points, on 6-of-16 shooting, while J.J. Reddick (13), Jameer Nelson (12), E’Twuan Moore (11), and Glen Davis (10) also reached double-figures.
The Hawks jumped out to an early 16-2 lead, including a 10-0 start, but the Magic rallied back and cut the first quarter deficit to 19-15 with Nelson’s 3-pointer before Atlanta sank a free-throw to end the period up 20-15.
Orlando continued to scrap away and eventually clawed their way to a 27-26 lead with 6:35 remaining in Q2, but only held the advantage for a brief moment.
30 seconds later, Devin Harris found Zaza Pachulia for an easy layup to put the Hawks back on top 28-27. They never looked back.
Atlanta ended the half leading 46-34, came out of the locker room at halftime, and cruised to a 86-80 victory.
With the win, the Hawks only trail the Heat by 0.5 games in the Southeast Division after Miami lost on a buzz beater against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday.
If Atlanta can handle the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday, they move into a 2-way tie for 1st place.