Hawks aim to end 10-game slide in clash with Magic

NBA Basketball
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The Atlanta Hawks will try to end their second 10-game losing streak of the season on Monday when they travel to Orlando to play the improving Magic.

Atlanta, which has the worst record in the league, dropped its 10th game in a row on Saturday night, a 116-81 setback in Chicago. Orlando had its modest two-game winning streak broken on Saturday in a 111-100 road loss to Milwaukee.

This will be the second of four meetings between the two Southeast Division rivals. Atlanta defeated Orlando 103-99 on Oct. 26.

The Hawks are happy to get forward John Collins back in the lineup. In the loss to Chicago, his third back since returning from a 25-game suspension for violation of the NBA anti-drug policy, Collins scored a season-high 34 points, had eight rebounds and blocked three shots in 33 minutes. It was the second 30-point effort of the season for Collins and the eighth of his career.

In his three games since his return, Collins is averaging 23.3 points and 11.3 rebounds. Overall, he’s averaging 19.4 points and 9.8 rebounds. Collins has averaged 12.4 points and 8.9 rebounds in seven career games against the Magic.

But Atlanta will be asked to play again without leading scorer and catalyst Trae Young, who didn’t even make the trip to Chicago. Young twisted his ankle in the loss to Milwaukee on Friday and he has been ruled out for Monday. His absence was felt in the loss at Chicago, when the team failed to score 90 points for the second straight game. Young averages 28.5 points and 8.3 assists. He scored 39 against the Magic in the first meeting.

“The head of the snake is off,” Collins said, referring to Young. “He brings all the pop, the swagger. Missed him (Saturday), for sure.”

The Hawks are also playing without forward Jabari Parker, who has a right shoulder impingement. The veteran, who averages 15.4 points, has missed the last two games. He is doubtful.

The Magic are dealing with injury issues, too. Starting forward Aaron Gordon left the Milwaukee game in the third quarter with a left Achilles injury. He may not play against Atlanta.

“I feel I might have been playing on it too long already,” Gordon said. “Now is the time I’ve got to get it taken care of. I just want to get healthy and come back and help my team.”

Gordon averages 13.2 points and 7.1 rebounds. He has scored in double figures 20 times and has eight double-doubles. If he can’t play, the likely replacement would be Wes Iwundu, who is averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 13.9 minutes.

Orlando’s balanced attack is led by Evan Fournier (19.4 points), who is shooting 42 percent on 3-pointers, has led the team in scoring 14 times and been in double figures in 29 games, and veteran Nikola Vucevic (17.7 points, 10.9 rebounds), who has a team high 13 double-doubles. Fournier scored 23 and Vucevic added 21 in the loss to Milwaukee

Orlando’s Mo Bamba has missed two games with a sprained right ankle and Michael Carter-Williams has missed three straight games with a sprained left shoulder.

–Field Level Media

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