DeQuan Jones - Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Missing three starters and playing the second night of a back-to-back, Orlando battled against Milwaukee, but the Bucks pulled away to a 15-point, fourth quarter lead and held on the rest of the way to hand Magic their ninth loss in a row.
The Orlando Magic were 10-point underdogs against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, with starters Glen Davis, Arron Afflalo, and Jameer Nelson all missing the game due to injury. This would give the young players for the Magic significant playing time, and Maurice Harkless, starting for Afflalo, took advantage with the best game of his rookie season, scoring 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting along with 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block, and 0 turnovers in 42 minutes. But the Bucks prevailed by a 107-98 final.
Orlando was impressive on the boards, outrebounding Milwaukee 52-42, including grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. The Magic also passed the ball well, with 32 assists.
Ultimately though, the Bucks outshot the Magic from the field (47%-44%), from the 3-point line (37 1/2% to 26%), and the free throw line (70% to 50%) to help them to victory. Too many turnovers (17) also hurt the Magic. Milwaukee big man Larry Sanders was a handful for the Magic to handle, as he scored 17 points along with 13 rebounds and 6 blocks. Monta Ellis added a double-double of 21 points, 11 assists.
The Bucks looked like they would make this a runaway early, jumping out to a 27-14 lead just ten minutes into the game, and a 31-22 lead after the first quarter. The Magic then played one of their best defensive quarters in a while, holding the Bucks to 21 second-quarter points on 41% shooting to come within 52-48 at the half.
Ish Smith was a big factor off the bench for the Magic in the first half, dishing six assists. DeQuan Jones as well was a factor off the bench, scoring 8 first-half points. The starting backcourt of J.J. Redick and E'Twaun Moore struggled from the floor, combining to shoot 3 of 14 from the floor for eight first-half points.
In the third quarter, the Magic took the lead for the first time since early in the first, and led 61-60 after a Kyle O'Quinn shot. Milwaukee then went on a 22-6 run to lead comfortably 82-67 with 10 1/2 minutes remaining in the game. To the Magic's credit, they did not quit, pulling to within 87-80 with just over six minutes remaining. A Mike Dunleavy 3-pointer, and seven points from Brandon Jennings helped the Bucks go back up 101-86 with 3:39 remaining to effectively put the game away.
Center Nik Vucevic led the Magic with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Reserve big man Kyle O'Quinn continues to make the most of his playing time, scoring 9 points in 11 minutes. Redick scored 15 points with 8 assists, but along with Moore combined to shoot just 8 for 30, including 3 for 13 on 3s.
Of particular concern is that Redick had to leave the game in the final seconds, as he appeared to be shaken up. The Magic have enough injuries to cope with without losing arguably their best player.