It took overtime for the Atlanta Hawks to defeat the Orlando Magic Friday night, but the Hawks nearly let the game slip away in regulation. Heading into the fourth quarter the Hawks were leading by five and within the first three minutes extended their lead to nine points and were able to hold onto a eight point lead with 2:26 left in the fourth quarter.
The Magic were able to comeback in that time by going on an 8-0 to send the game into overtime. Down two points Magin guard Jameer Nelson drove to the basket to tie the game and missed, but it was Dwight Howard who was able to grab the miss and make the put back with one second left to force overtime.
In the extra frame the the Hawks went on an 9-2 run after the Magic hit a three-pointer to go ahead for good. The Magic nearly came back when Ryan Anderson cut the Hawks lead to one when he made a three-point shot. The game then came down to free throws as the Magic's Jason Richardson and Hawks Zaza Pachulia each went one for two. After that sequence the Hawks had a two point lead with 10 seconds left. The Magic then had one last chance to tie or win the game but the Hawks defense stopped the two three-point attempts to win the game, 89-87.
The Hawks were led in scoring by Josh Smith who scored 23 points and rebounded from his poor three of 10 first half shooting to shoot six of 12 in the second half and overtime.
For more updates throughout the game, check out the Hawks at Peachtree Hoops, and the Magic at Orlando Pinstriped Post.