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Hawks’ Shooting Struggles Continue In Loss To Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. — Terrence Ross is going to blossom in Orlando.

Ross, who was traded last week to the Magic after 4 1/2 seasons in Toronto, looked right at home Saturday night when he scored a game-high 24 points in leading his new team to a convincing 105-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Ross hit 10 of 15 shots from the field and 4 of 7 from 3-point range in just his second game in a Magic uniform.

“I feel comfortable here. I like the team, the style of play. The weather’s nice and I’m just playing basketball,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for me. It really is. I knew that right away.”

Ross, who was a reserve this season with the Raptors, is the starting small forward who is expected to play a more significant role with the rebuilding Magic.

“It’s clear, after two games and a couple of practices, that Terrence Ross is a really good basketball player,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “His speed, his athleticism, his shooting range, he’s going to fit what we want to do. It’s great to have him here.”

Ross averaged 10.4 points and 22.3 minutes in Toronto this season. In two games with the Magic, he has averaged 18.5 points and 34 minutes.

“I think it’s going to be a good fit here,” he said. “I like this team.”

Center Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic. Aaron Gordon scored 18 points. Elfrid Payton had 15 points, nine assists and nine rebounds.

The Magic (22-38) snapped a two-game losing streak. The Hawks (32-26) lost their third consecutive game and never seriously challenged in the second half. They lost by 18 points at home to Miami on Friday.

“Friday, we didn’t have a good game. Today the same,” Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder said. “We have to get it together. Orlando played with a lot of energy. They hit tough shots. You have to give them credit.”

The Magic shot 45.7 percent from the field (37 of 81) and scored 27 fast-break points, using a more small-ball style of play with Ross in the lineup instead of power forward Serge Ibaka, who was traded to Toronto.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks with 15 points. Center Dwight Howard, who played eight seasons for the Magic, had 11 points and 14 rebounds in 30 minutes. He struggled with early foul trouble and made just 5 of 13 free throws. Paul Millsap, Schroder and Taurean Prince each had 11 points.

The Magic led by 21 points several times in the fourth quarter. Ross hit all four of his shots early in the fourth quarter, stopping any chance of a Hawks comeback.

Orlando led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter and took a 80-65 lead into the fourth.

The Magic closed the first half on a 17-5 run, including six points from Payton, and led 49-46 at intermission.

The Hawks struggled early. Howard had only four points when he committed his fourth foul with 3:51 remaining in the first half. Millsap missed his first seven shots before hitting a 3-pointer late in the second quarter.

Vucevic had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. Ross had 11 points with three 3-pointers and Gordon had 10 before intermission.

The Magic scored 11 consecutive points midway in the first quarter to grab a 21-10 lead, their biggest of the first half. The Hawks led by nine points before the Magic surged just before halftime.

NOTES: Hawks PG Dennis Schroder returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s loss to Miami because of a one-game team suspension for missing the Hawks’ first practice after the All-Star break. Schroder went home to Germany. His absence meant that reserve G Malcolm Delaney is the only Hawks player to appear in every game this season. … Magic backup PG C.J. Watson missed his second consecutive game with a sore Achilles tendon. Magic C Nikola Vucevic was added to the injury report earlier in the day, but he played with a sore Achilles. … With his first block Saturday, Hawks C Dwight Howard tied former Hawks C Moses Malone with 1,889 career blocked shots, good for 23rd best in NBA/ABA history. … The Hawks beat the Magic twice earlier this season by a combined 46 points. … Hawks G Tim Hardaway has scored at least 10 points in a career-best 13 consecutive games. … Magic reserve G Mario Hezonja told reporters that he would like to participate in both the 3-pointer shootout and the dunk contest at a future NBA All-Star Game.

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