In a truly meaningless game, the Milwaukee Bucks' b-squad defeated the Orlando Magic's b-squad, 98-80. Richard Jefferson led Milwaukee with 24 points and 7 assists, while Orlando was paced by Courtney Lee's 17 points and Marcin Gortat's 18 rebounds. Without their top four leading scorers--Jameer Nelson is out for the year; Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis are nursing nagging injuries; and Dwight Howard got a night off after four consecutive poor outings. The loss assures the Magic will not match the best record in franchise history. It also means the Magic will have to settle for a franchise-record-tying 27 road victories.
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As disappointing as it is that Orlando lost by 18 to a middling Bucks team--missing Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, its two best players--and will not cross the 60-win threshold, there's not much cause for concern here. The box score says it all, really: Gortat sure can rebound; Adonal Foyle (10 points, 9 boards, and 1 block in 20 minutes) could theoretically contribute in a pinch come the playoffs; 12th-man Jeremy Richardson (14 attempts, with 2 makes, in 25 minutes) loves to shoot; and Mickael Pietrus (2-of-11 shooting) struggles when he's the offense's number one option.
Additionally, with Lee and Pietrus starting and backup two-guard J.J. Redick out with back spasms, the Magic had no choice but to play Anthony Johnson a few minutes at the backup two-guard position. They trotted out a lineup of Rafer Alston, Johnson, Pietrus, Gortat, and Foyle at one point. Really, what did you expect from this lot?
So Orlando is officially on a 3-game losing streak for the first time this season, with the possibility of making it four in the season finale against Charlotte. Not exactly the best way to go into the playoffs, especially with the streaking Chicago Bulls as the likely first-round opponent. But if recent history is any indication, losing a few games at the end of the season isn't a huge deal. A win is better than a loss, and even a loss is okay if the team is more-or-less playing well in defeat. Still, it's hard to get too worked up about anything that occurred in the Magic's game tonight.