When playing the Atlanta Hawks, it’s a very good idea to know exactly where Kyle Korver is on the court at all times. Korver, one of the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history, has hit key shots throughout his career.
Unfortunately, the Orlando Magic lost sight of Korver and left him open in the final minute. His wide-open 3-pointer from the corner with 43 seconds remaining broke a tie and gave the Hawks a 103-100 victory over the Magic on Sunday at the Amway Center.
Korver’s shot was his sixth 3-pointer of the game out of eight attempts. Four of them came in the fourth quarter.
Victor Oladipo, the Magic’ best defensive player, put the blame squarely on his shoulders.
“The last play, it was just dumb; I shouldn’t have left (Korver),” Oladipo said. “I was thinking (helping underneath), but I’ve got to stay on Kyle Korver.”
Korver had 19 points, but had plenty of help from his teammates. Atlanta shot 50 percent from the field, including 11 of 22 from 3-point range. Six Hawks were in double figures, among them Paul Milsap with 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Mike Scott with 15 points.
The Magic got off to a good start and held a 29-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. Orlando came out cold and turned the ball over to start the second quarter, allowing Atlanta to move out to a 44-33 lead with 3:44 left in the half. The Hawks took a 52-42 lead into the locker room.
Orlando started strong to start the third quarter, but two threes by Korver kept Atlanta in front until the Magic finally took a 66-63 lead on three free throws by Channing Frye with 6:18 left in the period. The Magic led 78-77 going into the fourth quarter.
The teams stayed close throughout the fourth period. Orlando led by 3 early in the period and Atlanta’s biggest lead was 5 with 7:46 remaining on, of course, a Korver three.
With 1:42 remaining, Nikola Vucevic flipped in an 8-footer to give the Magic a 100-98 lead. Kent Bazemore made two free throws to tie the game for Atlanta, setting up Korver’s game-winner.
Vucevic led the Magic with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Evan Fournier added 17 while Frye chipped in 13.
The game was decided behind the 3-point line. While Atlanta drained 11 of 22, the Magic converted only four of 12.
With the loss, Orlando dropped to 15-12, good for fourth place in the Southeast Division, but only one and a half games behind division leader Miami.
Orlando heads to Madison Square Garden on Monday to face the New York Knicks. New York is riding a four-game winning streak.