ATLANTA- After three straight losses on the road, Atlanta returned home for some tasty home cooking a 83-78 win over Orlando. Josh Smith dropped 22 points and pulled down 12 boards to lead the Hawks who were without Joe Johnson due to injury.
Atlanta trailed only once, nearly 5 minutes of the first quarter. Smith's layup gave the Hawks a 6-4 lead, one they would not relinquish.
The two-point lead grew to 17 points by the end of the first half. Jannero Pargo provided the spark off the injury shortened bench scoring 12 of his 15 points in the second.
Orlando made a run in the third cutting the Hawks lead to just three 58-55. Ryan Anderson scored 9 points to lead the Magic in the turnover featured quarter. Orlando and Atlanta combined to turn the ball over 11 times in the third, nearly half of the 31 turnovers in the game. It was not a fundamentally sound game by any stretch.
Neither team sparkled in the half court set. Atlanta simply hit the shots when they needed them. Willie Green provided another spark for the home team tossing in 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the Hawks team defense limited Orlando's Dwight Howard to a spread out 12 points. As Howard struggled to get quality touches, the rest of the Magic starters struggled to find the rim. Orlando's starters were 19 of 55 from the field.
Both squads will get a few days rest as the All-Star Game takes center stage in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Atlanta gets three home games (Warriors, Bucks, Thunder) when the second half of the season gets underway next week.
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