After surviving an illness that ravaged the team during its West Coast trip, the Atlanta Hawks are looking forward to healthier days on their home floor.
Orlando first-year coach Jacque Vaughn however, is getting sick of the Magic’s chronic slow starts.
The Hawks will try for their seventh straight regular-season win over the slumping Magic on Monday when they begin a stretch of seven of eight games at home.
Atlanta (4-4) seemed to turn the corner with its 112-96 win at Sacramento on Friday after a flu virus spread throughout the team. Kyle Korver hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 points to help the Hawks salvage a split of the four-game swing.
Al Horford and Devin Harris had been too sick to play in Wednesday’s loss at Golden State, while Josh Smith and Lou Williams managed to play through the stomach ailment in the team’s win at Portland on Nov. 12.
“We had guys not playing, guys playing sick, but we persevered and got through it,” Williams said. “We wanted to break even on this trip before we headed back to Atlanta to get prepared for our homestand.”
Korver has played well of late, averaging 17.3 points and making 11 of 14 3-pointers in his last three games.
Williams added 21 and Smith had 19 on Friday, while Horford finished with 20 and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
The Hawks, who topped 100 points for the first time in six games, have made at least seven 3-pointers in all eight games.
“We can be a real up-and-down team, we know that,” coach Larry Drew said. “We preach moving the basketball. We emphasize sharing the basketball.”
Atlanta, which outscored the Kings 34-20 in the first quarter, could use another hot start versus a Magic club prone to early game struggles.
Orlando (3-6) has trailed after 12 minutes in seven of nine games following another slow start on Sunday in a 97-86 loss at Toronto. They’ve created double-digit first-quarter deficits in three of their last four road games.
“There’s no other way we’re going to win if we’re not prepared,” Vaughn said. “If we’re not ready to play at the start of the game and committed at the start of the game, not waiting till halftime and what happens after, then we won’t have a chance.”
Making matters worse, J.J. Redick the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.8 points, missed the contest because of an illness and his status is uncertain for Monday.
The loss of Redick would hurt the Magic considering they already rank near the bottom of the NBA in scoring (90.8) and 3-pointers (42). DeQuan Jones could get another start in Redick’s place after finishing with seven points on Sunday.
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