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Bucks 110, Magic 101: Magic keep it close but fall short against surging Bucks

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The Magic became the latest victim of the Bucks, who won their 15th straight

Orlando Magic v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

One winning streak had to come to an end. And, despite a valiant effort to get back into the game, it was the Orlando Magic’s.

The Magic trimmed an 18-point deficit down to five, but couldn’t get any closer as the Bucks prevailed 110-101 to extend their winning streak to 15 games. The loss snapped the Magic’s four game winning streak and dropped their record back under .500 at 11-12.

With the game being broadcasted on NBATV, a national audience got a look at a Jonathan Isaac block party just seconds into the game. Isaac swatted away the Bucks first two shots of the game, and three of their first seven attempts. Less than eight minutes into the game, Isaac had already recorded four blocks, the last of which was on a layup attempt by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was defended primarily by Aaron Gordon and limited in the first quarter to six points on 2-for-5 shooting.

Back-to-back buckets by Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier gave the Magic an 18-16 lead with 4:15 remaining in the first. But the Magic, because of turnovers (5) and missed open shots (31.8 percent), wouldn’t get another field goal for the remainder of the quarter. The Bucks closed the first on a 15-2 run to take a 31-20 lead into the second. The Bucks outshot the Magic from long range in the first, connecting on 5 of 11 attempts compared to 0 of 4 for the Magic, and also on the offensive glass, with eight second chance points to the Magic’s zero.

The Magic opened the second on a 6-0 run, highlighted by this pretty Aaron Gordon dunk (and kiss!) in transition that pulled the Magic within five....

That was as close as the Magic would get in the first half though as the offensive woes continued, particularly from three-point range. The Magic missed their first 12 attempts from three, many of which were open looks. Evan Fournier finally connected on a pair from deep in the closing minute of the half to help trim what had been an 18-point Milwaukee lead down to 52-40 at the half. The Magic were held to 29.5 percent shooting overall, going 2-for-14 from three.

Isaac, who had two fouls in the first quarter, collected his third with 6:11 remaining in the half, and was forced to the bench. The already shorthanded Magic then lost Mo Bamba, who exited and went to the locker room with an apparent knee injury suffered after colliding with Khris Middleton (he later returned).

The Magic continued to fight and their three-point shooting ultimately came alive midway through the third. Terrence Ross scored 11 points during an 18-5 Orlando run, including three triples, to cut the Bucks’ lead to 78-73 in the final minute of the third.

The Magic continued to linger in the fourth, keeping the deficit within single digits for a bulk of the quarter. Ross hit a three plus the foul with 50.2 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 107-101, but missed the ensuing free throw. On the ensuing possession, Giannis drove the lane, causing the defense to collapse, and kicked it out to an open MIddleton, who drained the three to seal the game. The Bucks simply had to many answers offensively, preventing Orlando from closing the gap. Credit to the Magic for fighting until the end, but they couldn’t fully dig themselves out of the early hole they put themselves in. Can’t miss open shots against a powerhouse like the Bucks and expect to keep pace.

Antetokounmpo finished with 32 points on 12-for-22 shooting and also had 15 rebounds and eight assists. Middleton added 20 points for the Bucks (21-3), who shot 46.7 percent.

Fournier had 26 points and Ross added 23, with each hitting four threes. The Magic, who shot 38 percent, had six players finish in double figures, including Markelle Fultz, who had 13 points and nine assists but shot just 4-for-14. Gordon had 10 points and 13 rebounds, Augustin had 13 points and five assists, and Isaac finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

It gets no easier for the Magic as they go from facing the team with the second best record in the league to the team with the best record in the league as the Lakers come to Orlando on Wednesday.