Hawks vs. Magic Live Notebook

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Tipoff

Cam Reddish gets the start for DeAndre Hunter, who will presumably be the first guy off the bench. Hunter is the better player right now and will probably be the team's starting small forward, but I like Lloyd Pierce giving Reddish an opportunity in the preseason. 

Alex Len is also in for Damian Jones at center, which I think is ultimately how Lloyd Pierce should go. I'm interested to see who plays more between Jones and rookie Bruno Fernando. 

8:01 1st Quarter

Sure enough, Hunter is first off the bench for Cam Reddish, who played well in four minutes. Atlanta ran its opening offensive set for him and he drained a mid-range jumper off of an Alex Len screen in the left corner. Interesting test coming for Hunter, who will likely guard Aaron Gordon when the two share the floor. 

The Magic have really bothered the Hawks' passers thus far, using their length and activity to anticipate and deflect kickout and entry passes. The pace, predictably is much slower tonight than it was in Atlanta's opener against the Pelicans. 

Magic lead 8-5. 

5:10 1st Quarter

Really nice defensive sequence from DeAndre Hunter on Aaron Gordon as the rookie slides his feet, keeps his arms spread and uses his chest to bump Gordon into a tough layup attempt. At the 4:30 mark, Hunter initiated a nice drive-and-kick from the baseline to Brandon Goodwin for three (he missed) before stepping into a one-dribble pull-up after Orlando ran him off the line a few possessions later. He also converted a nice stretching, driving layup in traffic off the dribble. 

Magic lead 12-8. 

End of 1st Quarter

Tough defensive quarter from Jabari Parker. He let DeAndre' Bembry get smacked by a backscreen from Al-Farouq Aminu on the weak side, and didn't look great moving his feet in individual defense. 

Meanwhile, Trae Young continues to dazzle with his passing vision. 

Hawks lead 20-18. 

9:40 2nd Quarter

We're seeing the full scope of Trae Young's offensive game tonight. Only has two assists, but has thrown some really nice passes that weren't converted. He's drawing traps on nearly every pick-and-roll, which allows Atlanta to play four-on-three when he gives the ball up. 

He also looks more aggressive than usual as a scorer, happily taking his defender off the dribble when he has the chance and pulling from deep when he gets space. Up to 11 points, five boards and two dimes after a nice 13-foot floater in the lane. 

Magic lead 28-21. 

4:57 2nd Quarter

Timeout Hawks. The lineup of Young, Reddish, Hunter, Collins and Len is getting some run midway through the second quarter. This is an intriguing group with length, shooting, playmaking and possibly even defensive ability that can generate almost any look it wants out of Trae Young pick-and-rolls. Len's shooting allows Collins to dive, while Hunter and Reddish have been capable shooters so far. 

Magic lead 32-30. 

End of 1st Half

The Hawks are keeping it close despite some really bad defensive sequences. Orlando is running a lot through Nikola Vučević, who has nine points and a slick assists from a backdoor pass to Terrence Ross. Just no communication along Atlanta's back line. The combination of Vooch and D.J. Augustin has been effective in the pick-and-roll, while guys like Ross and Jonathan Isaac have found ways to fit in around them. 

We're seeing more of Vince Carter at small forward than I anticipated entering the season, probably due to the sheer volume of bigs -- Jones, Len, Collins, and Jabari Parker -- in Lloyd Pierce's rotation right now. I'll be interested to see if the Hawks play a little bit smaller Kevin Huerter and Evan Turner come back. 

Magic lead 46-44. 

8:11 3rd Quarter

DeAndre Hunter starts the second half in place of Cam Reddish and gets two quick corner threes up (he made one). Later on, he dimes up Alex Len in the pick-and-roll. He just makes things happen on both ends. 

Aaron Gordon has reappeared since exiting the game eight minutes in. As best I can tell, he is not on Orlando's bench. 

Orlando's length continues to be a problem for the Hawks, who are up to 20 turnovers in 27 minutes of action. The Magic are getting their hands in passing lanes, deflecting passes at the point of release, and stripping the Hawks as they go up for layups. Turnovers will be an ongoing issue for this team. 

Magic lead 54-49. 

8:11 4th Quarter

This hasn't been John Collins' best game (2 points, 0-of-8 shooting, six turnovers, shaky defense). But one thing he has done well is roll hard to the basket consistently, which has opened up opposite corner threes for teammates. When Orlando hasn't trapped Trae Young out of the pick-and-roll, the point guard has been able to get downhill with his and Collins' defender chasing him. That forces a help defender to crash down on Collins and prevent the lob, which creates wide-open catch-and-shoot chances for DeAndre Hunter, Bruno Fernando, et al. 

Meanwhile, Atlanta is shooting just 26.5 percent on threes, but a couple of nice ball movement sequences have cut the Magic lead to just two. Bruno Fernando is playing well on both ends. 

Magic lead 79-77. 

5:17 4th Quarter

We have entered the Josh Magette stage of the contest. Starters for both teams are likely done. Trae Young finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and nine turnovers while DeAndre Hunter offered 13 points and five boards on 6-of-12 shooting. Terrence Ross paced the Magic with an even 20 while Vučevicć and Jon Isaac each netted 13. 

Orlando wins the competitive portion of the game, 86-77. 

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