(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks have to be thrilled the All-Star break is
right around the corner and they're one of the teams that could use the rest.
Heading into this weekend's break won't be easy, however, with the Southeast
Division-rival Orlando Magic scheduled to invade Philips Arena tonight.
The Hawks are without leading scorer Joe Johnson through the All-Star break
because of tendinitis in his left knee and he is averaging 7.6 points per
game. Johnson was selected as a reserve for the East and was supposed to
participate in the All-Star festivities. He was forced to leave Monday's loss
at Chicago because of the injury.
Atlanta dropped its third straight game and eighth in 11 tries with last
night's 99-82 setback to Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks in the finale of a
five-game road trip (1-4) at Madison Square Garden. Jeff Teague scored a team-
best 18 points, while Willie Green had 16 and Josh Smith added 13 for Atlanta,
which shot 39.5 percent for the game and trailed 60-35 at halftime.
"I thought they did a good job of dictating the pace of the game early," Hawks
head coach Larry Drew said about the Knicks. "We took a lot of ill-advised
shots and we turned the basketball over, which you can't do on the road."
Marvin Williams had no points in 26:48 and returned from a one-game absence.
The Hawks will open a four-game homestand tonight that will carry them through
the mid-season break. They will also host Golden State, Milwaukee and Oklahoma
City and are 9-5 in the ATL this season.
In 31 of the 34 games this season for Orlando, All-Star center Dwight Howard
has led the team in rebounding. Howard hopes to continue that lopsided trend
against the rival Hawks and is coming off a 20-point, 17-rebound effort in
last night's 108-91 victory in New Jersey.
Glen Davis scored 12 of his 16 points during a big run with Howard on the
bench because of foul trouble and Ryan Anderson had 14 points and nine
rebounds for the Magic, winners of two straight and 10 of 13 games.
"We're playing great basketball. We have to keep it up, stay humble, stay
focused and continue to push," said Howard, who owns 27 double-doubles on the
"We're in a good position and we don't want to lose that position. We have to
come back the second half and have a better second half."
Magic swingman Jason Richardson missed his third straight game with chest and
rib problems and could be out through the All-Star break. Richardson is
averaging 12.2 points in 26 games this season.
The Magic are 10-6 away from home and will visit Washington after the break to
close out a five-game road trip (2-1).
Orlando dropped an 89-87 overtime decision to Atlanta at Amway Center on Feb.
10 this season and has lost four straight and five of the last six meetings in
this series. The Magic have also suffered defeat in three straight and nine of
their previous 13 contests in the Peach State.
The Sports Network