Finished TV: FSN Philips Arena Atlanta
The Orlando Magic opened their three-game road trip in impressive fashion on Saturday to continue a sudden surge back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. They'll try to stay perfect on the trek and win their third straight overall contest for the first time since mid-November when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
Orlando took advantage of the absence of Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) to coast past the Bucks 103-83 on Saturday, improving to 4-1 on the heels of a 3-11 swoon. "We've really put a good string of, to me, really six or seven games together where, you know, there's things we could do better, but we played with better purpose," Magic coach Steve Clifford told reporters after his team held the Bucks to 32.6 percent shooting. The Hawks have dropped the first two contests of their seven-game homestand. They allowed 46 first-quarter points and fell short with a late rally in Saturday's 129-120 loss to Charlotte.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS Florida (Orlando), FS Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE MAGIC (24-32): Rookie Isaiah Briscoe hit all three of his shot attempts in Thursday's win over Minnesota and was 4-for-5 from the floor while handing out seven assists in the rout of the Bucks. "By far, his best game. Both ways, and he hit his jumper," Clifford said of the 22-year-old guard. "They were blitzing the pick and roll, and the ball got to him and he had room. He hit the two in the corner, and then he hit the spot-up 3. Again, his defense was very good." All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who recorded 29 points and 14 rebounds in a win at Atlanta last month, finished with 15 and 17 at Milwaukee.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (18-37): Atlanta's league-worst defense was on full display in Saturday's loss, as Charlotte shot 54.5 percent and recorded 30 assists on 48 baskets. "Great night offensively, really poor night defensively," coach Lloyd Pierce told reporters. "I thought Charlotte came out, they didn't feel us from the start and pretty much didn't feel us most of the game, and anytime you give a team confidence and an opportunity the way they had in the first quarter, it's harder. You feel like you're just chasing around the entire game, and that's what we were doing." John Collins led the way offensively with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
1. Hawks PG Trae Young recorded 11 assists on Saturday and has notched at least eight in eight of his last nine games.
2. Orlando is 17-15 against East rivals, compared to 7-17 versus the Western Conference.
3. Atlanta C Dewayne Dedmon is 12-for-24 from 3-point range over his last five contests.
PREDICTION: Magic 111, Hawks 109 Bet Now
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