Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
With the Atlanta Hawks fresh off splitting a grueling four-game West Coast road trip, there was a sense of relief that the team was coming home to face the lowly Orlando Magic Monday night. The game would not only start a stretch in which the Hawks would play seven of eight at home, but would give the team a chance to get above .500 on the season.
However, Atlanta's tired legs showed, as the Magic were able to make the first half really ugly, playing the game at a snail's pace and keeping the deficit at four points at the half. Atlanta was able to pick up the energy to build a 24-point lead in the second half, but couldn't sustain that momentum as Orlando cut that lead in half before finally succumbing.
Hawks' coach Larry Drew acknowledged that it was a tough game to play, but was happy that his team "gutted it out" on Monday night:
"That was a really tough game for us to play. I could tell guys were still weary from the West Coast. We didn't have our legs early. I could see guys gasping for air in the first four minutes. This game was going to have to fight from beginning to end. This Orlando team plays hard and when they are down they just keep coming. I'm very happy that we gutted it out."