Lowly Hawks thwart Magic rally in fourth

Published: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 12:52 a.m.
ATLANTA - Antoine Walker hit a fall-away jumper with 2.3 seconds left, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Orlando Magic 80-79 on Monday night despite blowing a 12-point lead in the final five minutes.
Walker shot 4-for-13 and scored only 12 points, but his jumper over Dwight Howard helped the Hawks snap a four-game losing streak.
Steve Francis scored 24 points for Orlando and Grant Hill added 19, but Hill's final shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Tony Delk led the Hawks with 17 points, and Al Harrington added 16.
Fresh off a two-game sweep of Washington, the Magic struggled most of the night against the Hawks, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Orlando barely topped its scoring low for the season, 78 points in a Jan. 24 loss at Houston.
A steal by Doug Christie led to Delk's sixth foul with 1:08 left, and Francis sank two free throws to pull the Magic to 76-75.
An offensive rebound and putback by Howard gave Orlando a 77-76 lead with 33.8 seconds left, but Harrington answered with a baseline shot for a 78-77 lead.
Following a timeout, Francis drove past Boris Diaw for a layup with 11.3 seconds left to give the lead back to the Magic before Walker came through for Atlanta.
Howard scored a career-high 24 points against the Hawks on Nov. 26, and the Atlanta native had three jams in a strong first period. Howard didn't score again in the first half as the Hawks opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run and led 40-32 at halftime.
Howard finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Orlando ranks eighth in the NBA in scoring, but its road average of 96.2 points is almost 10 points below its home average.

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