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Orlando Magic 94, Milwaukee Bucks 85

The Orlando Magic closed out their Friday game against the Milwaukee Bucks on a 17-0 run, rallying to defeat the visitors by a 94-85 final. Dwight Howard recorded game-highs with 26 points and 20 boards for Orlando, while Hedo Turkoglu scored 10 of his 14 points and dished three of his seven assists in the fourth period. Carlos Delfino scored 16 points to lead four Bucks in double-figures. Milwaukee shot 36.7 percent for the game.

The Bucks led the majority of the game, taking a 6-5 lead just three minutes into the contest and not relinquishing it until the 4:50 mark of the fourth quarter, as Turkoglu used a high screen-and-roll with Howard to take and make a fadeaway jumper going to his left. While battling back from a deficit which reached as many as 15 points, Orlando tied the score twice in the second half, only to allow Milwaukee to reel off 10 straight points on both occasions.

This Magic performance recalls some of their more memorable ones during more successful seasons in coach Stan Van Gundy's tenure: Turkoglu taking over in the fourth, Howard asserting himself on both ends, the whole team ratcheting up the defense in crunch time... it's a recipe for success, albeit one that requires Orlando to fall behind before it can be used.

The Bucks succeeded early despite poor shooting on the strength of their defense, which played energetically and with quick hands, throwing the Magic off their game. Orlando was ill-prepared for the Bucks' physical, aggressive defense.

Team Pace Efficiency eFG% FT Rate OReb% TO Rate
Bucks 92.9 91.5 40.0% 14.4 23.1 13.9
Magic 92.9 100.9 49.3% 25.0 26.8 18.2
Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.

But Orlando played reasonably well--aside from some turnovers--after the first period, in which they shot just 27.3 percent for 19 points. When Van Gundy challenged his club to play harder between the first and second periods, as Paul Kennedy reported on the Sun Sports telecast, it responded.

Though you'd rather not see the Magic spot the Bucks 10 points on two different occasions after tying the game, you have to like the way they shrugged that off and fought back once and for all in the fourth.

You also have to like how certain players stepped up, so to speak. After pulling in just two boards Wednesday night, Ryan Anderson answered Van Gundy's call to rebound better, and grabbed nine boards in 36 minutes against Milwaukee. In addition, he didn't limit himself to shooting threes, taking eight shots inside the arc and seven beyond it.

Off Orlando's bench, Quentin Richardson grabbed nine rebounds, while Earl Clark blocked two shots, helping the Magic produce in big-man statistical categories on a night when backup power forward Glen Davis was unavailable due to a death in the family. Any production at all from the Magic's bench is a plus, especially on a night when the usually reliable J.J. Redick struggled shooting the ball.

The Magic also did a respectable job of playing through a game that was oddly officiated on both sides. The referees called an inordinate number of offensive fouls, particularly moving screens, in Friday's contest. The negative is that Howard picked up a technical foul arguing after sinking a hook shot over Jon Brockman, sure, but the team as a whole didn't buckle.

With this come-from-behind win, Orlando picked up its sixth victory in its last eight games, and fourth consecutive. They play their next five away from Amway Center, including Sunday afternoon against the Southeast Division-leading Miami Heat.

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