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3:00 PM PT4:00 PM MT5:00 PM CT6:00 PM ET22:00 GMT6:00 3:00 PM MST5:00 PM EST2:00 UAE (+1)23:0018:00 ET4:00 PM CT21:00 , March 17, 2019
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida  Attendance: 18,045

Magic feel urgency entering contest versus Hawks

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic

  1. The Magic are 8-4 in their last 12 games against the Hawks, this coming after Atlanta had taken 17 of the previous 20 meetings.
  2. The Magic sit just outside of a playoff spot with 12 games to play. Orlando has missed the playoffs in each of the past six seasons, the third-longest active streak in the NBA behind the Kings (12 straight entering this season) and the Suns (8).
  3. D.J. Augustin is shooting 52.0 percent from three-point range at home this season, what would be the highest mark by any NBA player (minimum 100 attempts) since 1995-96, when Chicago's Steve Kerr shot 53.1 percent and Washington's Tim Legler shot 52.1 percent.
  4. In his last six games against the Hawks, Nikola Vucevic is averaging 21.2 points and 13.8 rebounds per game while going a perfect 17-for-17 from the free-throw line.

The surprising Orlando Magic will try to keep their playoff hopes alive on Sunday when they host the Atlanta Hawks in the second game of a five-game homestand.

The Magic (32-38) are one game behind the Miami Heat (32-36) for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Orlando is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12.

Orlando has won both meetings against the Hawks this season and has prevailed in eight of the last 12. They play for the final time on April 5, again in Orlando.

The Magic are coming off an emphatic 120-91 win over Cleveland, but have lost four of their last six.

Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the win and has a team-high 51 double-doubles. He averages 20.6 points and 12 rebounds and has led the team is scoring 31 times. He has feasted against the Hawks, scoring 29 in the first meeting and collecting 14 rebounds and going for 19 points and 12 boards in the second game.

"We knew we had to respond (against Cleveland) and play a better game and we did," Vucevic said. "We played really well from the beginning."

Vucevic said the team understands the importance of each game as the end of the season approaches and the playoff race tightens.

"Every game moving forward for us, the margin of error is getting slimmer and slimmer -- almost to none," Vucevic said. "We have to get on a run now if we want to get back in the eighth spot."

Orlando forward Evan Fournier, who scored 29 against Atlanta in their first meeting, said, "We're aware of the situation. We know our schedule, so we know we have to take advantage of that stretch of games."

Orlando brings a balanced attack. The Magic had seven players score in double figures on Thursday, with Aaron Gordon getting 21. Gordon averages 16 points and has scored in double figures 58 times and scored more than 20 points in 19 games.

Atlanta lost a 129-120 decision at Boston on Saturday afternoon, which broke its two-game winning streak. Although the Hawks are only 24-46, they have played much better in the second half, particularly on offense. Atlanta is averaging 123 points since the All-Star Game and erased a 25-point deficit against Boston to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

Part of Atlanta's second-half success has been due to the continued improvement of rookie guard Trae Young and second-year forward John Collins.

Young scored 26 on Saturday against the Celtics -- his 28th game with 20-plus points -- and Collins had his 29th double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The duo represented the U.S. team in the Rising Stars game during the All-Star break and is considered the foundation for the team's rebuilding effort.

"Just being around him on a day-to-day basis, that's what a lot of this year has been about for us," Collins said of Young. "Next year, when we come back and are truly and honestly comfortable with one another, it will help leaps and bounds. We won't be thinking about chemistry. It will be another level next year."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 16, 2019

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