Well at least they didn't get blown out this time. Dwight Howard scored 27 points and added 11 boards and Vince Carter had 19 points, leading the Orlando Magic to a 93-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at the Amway Center.
Joe Johnson poured in 23 points and Al Horford added 16 for Atlanta (6-2), which fell to Orlando (5-1) for the 11th time in their last 12 matchups against their intradivision rival. The Hawks, who opened this one with a flourish, ended this one in all-too-familiar fashion -- with Carter putting the final dagger through the team's heart.
The long-time Hawks nemesis scored five of the Magic's last seven points to seal yet another win in this lopsided series.
Joe Johnson cut the Orlando lead to 89-97 with 34 seconds left before Carter answered with a layup and the foul with 15.5 left to extend the lead back to four. After Carter missed the free throw on the three-point play, Horford cut the lead back to 91-89 with a hook shot with 11.1 seconds left. But J.J. Reddick nailed a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to secure the win.
Atlanta, which was swept out of the second round of the playoffs by an average of 25.3 points per game by the Magic last season, showed up ready to play in this one. They lead by as many as 13 points in the first quarter as Howard sat on the bench in foul trouble. But the Magic used a 19-2 run bridging the first and second quarters to take a 29-25 lead.
Marvin Williams missed his third straight game for Atlanta, which dropped its second straight game after starting the season with six consecutive wins.