Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/8

Game 1: Monday, November 8th
Game 2: Monday, December 6th
Game 3: Monday, December 20th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 30th

Magic 81

(16-11, 7-7 away)

Hawks 91

(18-12, 10-5 home)

    Coverage: SSN

    7:00 PM ET, December 20, 2010

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    ORL 14 24 20 2381
    ATL 20 23 22 2691

    Top Performers

    Orl: D. Howard 19 Pts, 20 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Atl: A. Horford 24 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Magic-Hawks Preview


    There's likely to be an adjustment period in integrating four new players into the Orlando Magic's offensive system after Saturday's extreme makeover.

    Stan Van Gundy can live with that -- as long as his new acquisitions are ready to defend.

    Unacceptable defense has been Van Gundy's chief concern during the Magic's six losses in seven games, a slump they'll hope to start working out of Monday night when they visit the Atlanta Hawks.

    Orlando (16-10) was feeling good about itself during its 15-4 start, when it was allowing an NBA-low 91.1 points per game and looking like the class of the Eastern Conference along with Boston.

    Two weeks later, it's not the best team in the Southeast Division. As Miami has surged into first place with its 12-game winning streak, the Magic have fallen into a rut.

    Five losses in six games led general manager Otis Smith to make some drastic changes Saturday. Orlando sent Rashard Lewis to Washington for the high-scoring but troubled Gilbert Arenas in an exchange of bad contracts, then shipped Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat to Phoenix for Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu -- who helped lead the Magic to the 2009 NBA finals.

    Orlando also gave the Suns its 2011 first-round draft pick and cash and received forward Earl Clark.

    "We needed a little bit more punch," Smith said. "All those guys coming in have an ability to move the ball. After looking at our team through 25 games, we were missing a little something. I thought change was needed."

    The moves left Orlando severely short-handed for Saturday's visit from Philadelphia, but having only eight players wasn't an excuse Van Gundy was interested in using. The Magic gave up 57 second-half points in a 97-89 loss that left their coach fuming.

    Orlando has given up an average of 52.6 second-half points in its past five games. Overall, it's allowing 97.6 during the 1-6 stretch.

    "Make every excuse in the world," Van Gundy said. "That's five straight games where we've done nothing to defend in the second half. So whatever the excuses are. I'm running out of them. I don't believe in any of them. Go out and guard somebody."

    Arenas, Richardson and Turkoglu aren't exactly known for their defensive abilities, but -- despite Van Gundy's concerns at that end of the floor -- Orlando needs a boost offensively as well. It's averaged 89.1 points in the last seven -- 10.2 fewer than it was scoring during the 15-4 start.

    A rough shooting night was the problem Dec. 6 against the Hawks (17-12). The Magic shot 37.8 percent in an 80-74 home loss, only their second defeat versus Atlanta in the last nine regular-season meetings.

    The Hawks have to be happy they'll be at home. They've averaged 86.0 points while dropping their last four on the road, and scored only 52 points in the final three quarters of Sunday's 89-82 loss at New Jersey.

    At home, Atlanta has won six straight by 10.3 points per game.

    "We have to be able to take the good with the bad," guard Mike Bibby said. "We had a chance to put (the Nets) away early and didn't do it. We missed shots that our guys usually make."

    Orlando has to hope Arenas starts making shots he typically knocks down. The three-time All-Star is shooting just 39.4 percent, but he's hoping a change of scenery -- he refers to Smith as a "father figure" from their time together with Golden State -- can help him turn around a career that seems to be spiraling downward.

    "I'm just glad to be back in the playoff hunt," Arenas said. "I've been out of it for a while and just glad to be back in competitive basketball with a group of guys who now hope to win, so it's just great."