Tipping it up in their penultimate game of the season, the Orlando Magic welcomed the Milwaukee Bucks to the Amway Center for their final home game of the season. After leading by double digits much of the night, the Magic managed to pull one out late, winning 107-98.
After a disappointing performance in Miami on Sunday, the Magic bounced back early against the Bucks, grabbing a 13 point lead mid-way through the quarter. Dewayne Dedmon, starting in place of the injured Nikola Vucevic, got off to a quick start, as he did previously, scoring 12 early points. The Magic were able to take advantage of the Bucks' inability to defend in the paint, leading to 24 first quarter points in the painted area. Thanks to their hot shooting, the Magic held an 11 point lead, 33-22, after one.
With their reserves in, the Magic offense began to get bogged down, allowing the Bucks to pull back within four. Thanks to a few high energy plays on defense from Jason Smith, and some improved flow offensively, the Magic began to push their lead back out to double digits. The Magic continued to wreck havoc on the Bucks in the paint, pushing their total to 42 points in the paint for the first half, just two off the Bucks point total. At the half, the Magic had extended their lead, leading the Bucks 58-44 at the half.
Out of halftime, the Magic continued to look like the more energized and engaged team, pushing their lead to as many as 20 in the quarter. After dominating in the painted area in the first half, the Magic scored just 12 of their 27 third quarter points in the paint, compared to 18 for the Bucks. The Magic's defense also began to falter, allowing the Bucks to get to the basket at will, and get open shots throughout the quarter. After three, the Magic still led by double digits, but found themselves falling a bit, up just 12, 85-73.
Having led by double digits much of the night, the Magic seemed poised to cruise to victory. The Bucks had other thoughts, however, knocking down shot after shot to cut the Magic's lead down to as few as four. After pushing their lead back up to 10, the Bucks quickly answered with a pair of threes to cut the lead back down to four before Mario Hezonja knocked down a big corner three to steady the ship for the Magic. Out of a timeout, Milwaukee scored to cut the lead back down to five, before the sides traded turnovers over the next few possessions.
The Magic were able to dig down and get a few stops and make from free throws to knock off the Bucks.
Ersan Iylasova led the way for the Magic, finishing with 22. Hezonja put together one of his best games yet, finishing with 19 points and seven assists. Dedmon scored 17 and grabbed eight rebounds, while Evan Fournier scored 13. Elfrid Payton notched a double-double, finishing with 11 points and 11 assists, with Jason Smith adding 10 of his own for the Magic.
Greg Monroe led all scorers, finishing with 23 on the night. Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker each scored 17, with Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring 11. Tyler Ennis finished with 10 as well for the Bucks.