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Hawks blow double-digit lead but hold on to defeat Magic

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The Canadian Press
1/22/2014 9:56:25 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Road victories don't come easily for the Atlanta Hawks.

Not even against one of the NBA's worst teams.

Atlanta lost a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter before coming back to hit six free throws in the final 40 seconds and secure a 112-109 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Paul Millsap had 24 points and Jeff Teague added 23 to help the Hawks earn just their seventh road victory of the season.

"I wish they could put a leadership column on the stat sheet. Tonight when we got down, Paul was the one that pulled them together," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "All the other stuff is great ... but I think it's his leadership, and I think our group needs that going forward."

Seven players finished in double-figures for Atlanta, which has won two straight and has a day off before hosting San Antonio on Friday.

Millsap stayed confident despite losing the big lead, that it wasn't going to be their latest road shortcoming.

"We were falling apart a little bit," he said. "They made a nice little run. We didn't want to just call it quits then. So we had to regroup, get back on the right track."

Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 24 points. Tobias Harris had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson finished with 17 points.

For the Magic, the loss was the latest setback for a team that was hoping to build on a win over Boston on Sunday that snapped a 10-game losing streak. They've now started another streak with back-to-back losses to Brooklyn on Tuesday and the Hawks.

The Magic have lost 12 of their last 13 overall, and fell to 1-14 this season without starting centre Nik Vucevic, who continues to recover from a concussion.

"It's tough for us to make shots down the stretch," Harris said. "We had some good opportunities, we just couldn't convert."

The Hawks entered the game just 6-13 on the road, an issue that coach Mike Budenholzer said could be solved by showing more attention to detail and mental toughness.

They would need those attributes late against the Magic.

The Magic fell behind by as many as 11 in the first half, before trimming the Hawks' lead down to 60-59 in the opening minutes of the third quarter.

Atlanta responded by hitting nine of its first 16 shots in the quarter to ignite a 22-4 run that opened up a 19-point lead at 82-63.

But Orlando closed the quarter with its own 17-6 spurt and trailed by eight entering the final period.

The Magic's momentum continued in the fourth, and they took their first lead of the game, 93-92, on a dunk by Kyle O'Quinn.

They were leading 98-92 when they lost Doron Lamb, who fouled out after scoring seven quick points in the quarter.

With Lamb gone, Orlando got a little sloppy offensively and the Hawks closed to 102-100 on Shelvin Mack's layup with 3:47 to play.

After a pair of lead changes Atlanta went back in front, 110-109, on a pair of free throws by Pero Antic with 22.8 seconds to play.

Orlando got Glen Davis free for a short jumper that bounced off the back of the rim. Antic got the rebound, was fouled, and hit two more at the foul line with just 11.1 seconds left.

The Hawks never trailed in the first half and took a 60-56 lead into halftime.

Both teams shot above 50 per cent in the half, but the Hawks held a 36-24 edge on scoring in the paint.

Millsap led all scorers with 14 first-half points.

Teague said Millsap continues to carry the Hawks since Al Horford was sidelined for the season with a torn right pectoral muscle.

"He does that every night, Do-It-All-Paul," Teague said. "He's been the ultimate player for us this year, and he did it again tonight. If he doesn't make (the All-Star team) it would be highway robbery, I think."

NOTES: Atlanta's Kyle Korver extended his NBA record to 110 consecutive games with at least one made 3-pointer. ... Orlando fell to 1-24 when its opponent scores 100 or more points. ... Vucevic missed his ninth straight game due to a concussion. Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he isn't sure where Vucevic is in the league's concussion protocol, saying only that "He's still in the doctor's hands."

Elton Brand (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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