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Magic 104, Bucks 111: Giannis, Bucks outlast shorthanded Magic

Though the Magic were able to stave off Giannis and the Bucks for most of the first half, their three-point shooting ultimately did them in

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic entered Saturday’s game riding a three-game winning streak, but that would come crashing down when they faced Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Magic were able to contain the Bucks early, leading 50-54 at the half and making 7 of their first 13 three-pointers, but they proceeded to make only one of their next 16 and the Bucks’ offense only got better as the game went on.

The Magic shot 42 percent in the second half and were mainly able to keep it close because of their 11-of-12 shooting day at the free throw line. That being said, the final score isn’t at all indicative of the game flow. Evan Fournier had a four-point play that would’ve tied the game in the final minutes waved off as a reach in foul, and then the Bucks just inflated the lead from there.

In the pregame meeting, coach Frank Vogel said that the strategy was to make Giannis shoot the ball rather than letting him get inside. The defensive assignment, due to Aaron Gordon’s absence, was Mario Hezonja, who had a solid first quarter.

Though Giannis finished with 32 points, Magic coach Frank Vogel said that he has seen many positive things out of Hezonja, who is having a comeback season in the wake of recent magic injuries.

“You know, I told him a few weeks ago it’s clear the game is slowing down for him,” said Vogel, “he’s not out of control, he’s not too frenetic and you know he’s a hell of a driver.”

Hezonja finished with 23 points – second only to Giannis’ total for either team. He also chipped in three rebounds and three steals to round out a decently diverse effort.

The point guard duo of Shelvin Mack and D.J. Augustin was highly effective, combining for 30 points and 15 assists. The larger part of that was clearly Mack, who had his best game in pinstripes by far, hitting 8-of-10 shots for 19 points, including two threes, and tallied 10 assists and four rebounds. Mack was deadly from the floor in two-point range, going a perfect 6-for-6.

It was a typical day at the office for swingman Evan Fournier, who poured in 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, adding one assist and two rebounds.

The Orlando Magic (18-37) will travel to Chicago (19-36) on Monday to face a Bulls team that has given them problems all year, and then return home on Wednesday to play the Hornets (23-32).