Fading Magic tip off five-game road trip at Hawks

NBA

The struggling Orlando Magic will try to find some answers away from home on Monday when they begin a five-game road trip in Atlanta against the Hawks, who have proven to be one of the NBA’s best teams in their own building.

The Magic have lost two straight and have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Orlando endured a 20-0 drought in the first half on the way to dropping a 104-92 decision to the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

Atlanta ended its six-game losing streak on Sunday by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 120-100 behind a season-high 42-point performance from Trae Young.

Atlanta improved to 4-1 at home and has won 11 straight home games against Eastern Conference opponents, tied for second-best in franchise history, and the longest such active streak in the NBA, according to Elias Sports. The franchise record is 15.

“It was good to be home after a tough road trip,” Atlanta forward John Collins said. “We’ve got to keep it going.”

Young had his best all-around game of the season against Milwaukee. He was 16-for-26 from the field and 8-for-13 on 3-pointers — matching his career high — with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He was removed from the game with two minutes remaining, despite closing in on a triple-double. It was the fifth time Young has scored 30-plus points this season and the 67th time in his career.

“We have a lot of talented guys, especially on offense,” Collins said. “We’ve got to figure it out and stay together. … It’s always good when can find a nice flow, get into a nice rhythm and get a win.”

Collins was troubled by foul trouble in the first half on Sunday but came back to score 16 of his 19 points in the final two quarters. It extended his solid stretch that saw him average 19.5 points and 7.3 rebounds on the four-game West Coast road trip.

Orlando continues to rebuild with young players. The Magic’s starting lineup on opening night was the youngest for any team to begin a season in NBA history dating back to when the league began tracking starters in 1970-71.

Cole Anthony has led or shared Orlando’s scoring lead eight times and averages 19.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Atlanta native Wendell Carter Jr. averages 13.6 points and 9.9 rebounds and has a team-high seven double-doubles.

“I think we made a lot of bone-headed mistakes (against Washington),” Orlando’s Mo Bomba said. “We did a better job competing, but overall there are so many little things that go into winning a game that we failed to do.”

Defense has been an issue for Orlando, which is now 2-9 when surrendering 100 or more points.

“We ended up getting some good looks but we’ve got to step up and make shots,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said.

This will be the fourth back-to-back for the Hawks this season. They have split one and dropped both ends of the other two. The Hawks won all three games against the Magic last season.

–Field Level Media

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