Atlanta, GA — Wednesday night’s preseason game between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic at the State Farm Arena was a throwback to the old comic battles of Red vs. Blue.
Despite the slugfest that ensued on the court, the Magic (3-0) escaped with a 97-88 win over the winless Hawks (0-2) behind a 20-point performance from Terrence Ross and a blistering defensive presence.
The game took off on a steady pace with Orlando in the lead, but Atlanta slowly caught up. It was a never-ending battle going back and forth between the two teams. Atlanta rookie forward Cameron Reddish (four points in 14 minutes) helped the team out by carrying the ball down to the end of the court multiple times throughout the game. Guard Trae Young, who was Rookie of the Year runner-up last season, led the Hawks with 18 points and tied for the team lead in assists with five.
Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce was not discouraged by the loss, praising his team’s effort from the jump.
“Although we didn’t win according to the scoreboards, we still won as a team,” Pierce said. “I’m proud of the hard work that was done out there.”
Throughout the game, the arena hosted fun activities to get the audience involved, including the kiss cam and dance cam featuring people throughout the stadium.
Fans stayed engaged during the first two periods of the game, but the pace of the contest slowed down in the third and fourth periods.
The second half took a while due to the increasing physicality of the Hawks and Magic, with multiple timeouts being called to outmaneuver each other. The score jumped back and forth between each team and everyone was sitting on the edge of their seats wondering how the game would end.
Despite the effort from the young Hawks, the team wasn’t able to overcome the more experienced Magic.
For those who never been to a professional basketball game before — like me — it was quite the experience. If you have never been to one you need to attend. The energy in the arena is unlike any other. The excitement, cheers and screams made the entire experience incredible.