The Milwaukee Bucks appeared headed to their second consecutive come-from-behind win against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Free throws by Monta Ellis had given the Bucks a 95-92 lead with nine seconds to play in regulation. Milwaukee attempted to foul Tobias Harris before Orlando could get a shot off, but Marquis Daniels got to Harris too late, fouling him as he sank the tying three-point basket with 1.9 seconds to go.
Harris missed the ensuing foul shot, and then batted away the lob on Milwaukee's side out-of-bounds play with 0.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime at Amway Center in J.J. Redick's first game in that building since the Magic traded him to the Bucks.
In overtime, Orlando scored the first two baskets to take a four-point lead. Moments later, Doron Lamb hit a three-pointer from the left corner to put Orlando ahead by five with 2:31 to go. The Bucks never seriously challenged again and the Magic prevailed by a 113-103 final.
Orlando shot 2-of-7 on free throws in regulation, so the game need not have gone to extra frames in the first place.
Harris scored 30 points with 19 rebounds and five assists, capping his night with a needless, one-handed jam when he could have simply dribbled the clock out. Nikola Vucevic had 30 points, 20 rebounds, and five assists of his own. Doron Lamb, who arrived with Harris in the Redick trade, scored 16 off the bench.
Orlando opened the game by getting Nikola Vucevic involved, running pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop action free him for layups for jumpers. He scored eight of the Magic's first 13 points on such actions, helping Orlando open a 13-5 lead at the 6:51 mark. A tip-in by Vucevic moments later put the Magic up by 12, their largest lead of the first period, promoting Bucks coach Jim Boylan to call timeout.
Tobias Harris also got involved; he and Vucevic had 10 points apiece in the first quarter, combining to outscore the Bucks by themselves; Milwaukee finished with 16 points on 6-of-24 shooting. Monta Ellis, who scored 25 points in his last quarter against the Magic, shot 0-of-6 in the opening 12 minutes, going scoreless.
The Magic's defense, which succeeded in the first quarter in part by turning Ellis into a playmaker instead of a scorer, relaxed in the opening minutes of the second. Ellis got to the rim and drew a foul to earn a trip to the charity stripe, where he split a pair of foul shots. On the Bucks' next possession, he got to the rim again, only this time he dumped the ball to rookie big man John Henson for an emphatic, two-handed jam. On each of Milwaukee's next two trips, Henson found Mike Dunleavy for three-pointers, capping a 9-0 scoring run.
Dunleavy and Henson teamed to lead a resurgence for Milwaukee, helping the Bucks score as many points in the opening 6:32 of the second period as they did in the entire first quarter. Triples by Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb helped Orlando push its lead back to 10, but those baskets served as deodorant, of a kind: they covered up the stink of the Magic's own poor defense, which continued to allow open driving lanes to Milwaukee players.
Henson and Dunleavy changed the game for Milwaukee in the second period. Henson grabbed 12 of his 15 first-half rebounds in the quarter, matching the Magic's total as a team. He also rejected three shots, helping to disrupt the Udrih-to-Vucevic action with his length, speed, and shot-blocking prowess. With Vucevic suppressed and Harris largely missing-in-action--the second-year forward tried just one field goal in the second period--Orlando had to work mighty hard to generate any sort of shot attempt, let alone a good one. As a result, the Bucks closed to within three points, at 48-45, at halftime.
The versatility of Milwaukee's roster showed in the first half. Brandon Jennings, arguably the Bucks' best player, left after just 6:13 due to a sore Achilles' tendon and did not return. Ersan Ilyasova, usually the starter at power forward, didn't play at all due to illness. In their absences, Boylan shifted Ellis to point guard and started Luc Mbah a Moute. The latter had a brutal first half, missing two gimme layups, but Henson was able to fill his void with strong play off the bench. And Dunleavy upstaged Marquis Daniels, the starting small forward, with his outburst in the second period.
The good news for Orlando is that Milwaukee didn't make a run in the third quarter; the bad news is that Orlando wasn't able to gain any separation for itself. Henson's length continued to gum up the Magic's interior offense, and Orlando couldn't create three-point looks.
Daniels hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 63 with 2:46 to go in the third, but Udrih answered 11 seconds later with his patented foul-line jumper to put Orlando back in the lead. Dunleavy hit 3-of-4 free throws moments later to give the Bucks their first lead of the game.
Orlando closed the third with a flurry as Lamb sank a triple from the right corner and Harris threw down an emphatic fast-break dunk, staking Orlando to a four-point lead. Whatever momentum that frenetic finish gave Orlando soon dissipated as the Bucks opened the fourth quarter on a 7-2 scoring run to take a one-point lead; appropriately, it was Redick who gave his new team the edge over his old one.
Lamb, acquired from Milwaukee in the Redick trade, answered in kind on Orlando's next possession, hitting his third three-pointer of the night to put the Magic ahead by two points.
The teams tied or traded leads five times over the next four minutes, with Udrih's driving score at the 3:49 mark knotting everything at 82. After a Bucks miss, Orlando cleared the right side of the floor for Vucevic to post up, and the Montenegrin used his strength advantage over Henson to create just enough space to float in a shot before Henson could recover and challenge. A Daniels putback on the Bucks' next trip tied the score, but another Vucevic tip-in put Orlando back in the lead.
And then the Bucks asserted themselves. Dunleavy hit his third three-pointer of the game, and Ellis followed that score with a driving layup. Henson blocked Udrih's jumper on Orlando's next possession, and though Harris rebounded for Orlando, he committed a charging foul to give the Bucks the ball. Ellis scored another layup, and Daniels drilled another jumper to put Milwaukee up five with less than a minute to play. Udrih passed the ball to Milwaukee's bench to seemingly complete the collapse, but the Magic rallied with a Henson goaltend of a Vucevic stick-back, a Harris putback, and Ellis going 2-of-4 from the line when Orlando intentionally fouled him in order to prolong the game.