After a quiet first half with just three points on 1-of-3 shooting, much-maligned Orlando Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson exploded in the second half, scoring 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including an amazing 8-of-9 on three-pointers. He made four three-point shots in a 2:49 span late in the game to key a 16-0 Magic run, which erased an 88-78 Milwaukee Bucks lead. J-Rich finished with a career-high nine three-pointers in 11 attempts, and 31 points overall, his highest scoring game since he's been with the Magic. The nine three-pointers ties for the second-most three-pointers in a game by a player in Magic franchise history. The Magic made 15 three-pointers total in 37 attempts.
After struggling offensively for several games, the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu was a big factor in the Magic's comeback, scoring 19 points, including 12 in the second half, and added six assists, five rebounds, and a block. The 50 points combined on 18-of-31 shooting, including 12-of-19 on threes, from Richardson and Turkoglu more than offset below average games from Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson, who combined for just 20 points on 8-of-23 shooting.
Former Magic power forward Drew Gooden led the Bucks with 21 points, eight boards, and four assists. Reserve power forward Ersan Ilyasova had a big game off the Bucks' bench, scoring 17 points along with 16 rebounds.
Both the Magic (17-11) and Bucks (12-15) played tough overtime games on Friday, and each team had to fly in to Milwaukee afterward. It showed in the first quarter, which was listless for both teams, as the Bucks led 21-16. Orlando shot a meager 4-of-17 in the quarter, while Milwaukee was not much better at 8-of-27. Both teams shot much better in the second quarter, as the Magic shot 9-of-16 with the Bucks shooting 12-of-22, as the Bucks held a 49-43 halftime advantage. The story of the first half was rebounding. The Bucks had much more success and energy on the boards, outrebounding the Magic 28-17, including an astounding 12-2 on the offensive boards. Due to the big advantage in offensive boards, the Bucks attempted 49 field goals to just 33 for the Magic. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy would play Glen Davis and Howard together for portions of the second half to try to get the rebounding going.
The Magic were able to cut into the Bucks' lead in the third quarter, scoring 27 points in just over 7 minutes, to take a 70-65 lead. The Magic went cold the final 4:54 of the third, missing 9-of-10 shots as the Bucks took a 73-72 lead into the fourth. J.J. Redick, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, gave the Magic a 78-75 lead with a jumper with 10 minutes remaining. The Magic then went scoreless for over five minutes, as Milwaukee proceeded to go on a 13-0 run to seemingly take control of the game 88-78. That's when J-Rich took over, and had help from Hedo, as the Magic then went on a 21-6 run the rest of the game to finish off the Bucks. Richardson and Turkoglu combined for 19 of the Magic's final 21 points, as Milwaukee missed 8 of its last 10 shots.
That the Magic were able to win despite a sub-par offensive game from Howard was impressive. Howard scored just 11 points on 5 of 15 shooting, along with 14 rebounds and four blocks on defense. Magic radio color commentator Adonal Foyle made the observation that Howard seemed to be "throwing" his hook shots toward the bucket, instead of shooting them.
All in all, a very impressive comeback win for the Magic, and what a shot of confidence this should bring to J-Rich and Hedo. J-Rich had been playing improved basketball for several games prior to his breakout game tonight, while Turk had been badly struggling for several games with turnovers and poor shooting. He was more like Mr. Fourth Quarter this game.
Other game notes:
-The Magic bench played much better than against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, scoring 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists, compared to the 7 points scored against the Hawks. For the fourth straight game, guard Von Wafer did not see action, but was not really needed considering how effective J-Rich, Redick, and Turkoglu were.
-Ryan Anderson finished in single digits with 9 points and shot just 1-of-6 from three-point range.
-Jameer Nelson had a quiet game offensively, scoring 6 points on 2-of-6 shooting, but did a nice job running the offense with 5 assists and just 1 turnover.
-The Bucks' reserves played well, scoring a collective 45 points on 20-of-37 shooting. In addition to Ilyasova's 17 points, sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy added 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
-The Bucks wound up outrebounding the Magic 49-43, including 17-9 on the offensive boards. The Magic outrebounded the Bucks by a 26-21 margin in the second half, though.
-Despite his brilliance from the three-point line, Jason Richardson continues his inexplicable struggle at the free throw line, going 0 for 4 against the Bucks and is now shooting 20-of-39 (51.3%) for the season on free throws.
Here is the game box score.