There’s going to be days like this during the latest Magic rebuild.
Facing a Bucks team hungry for a win after dropping three straight, the Magic not only never led in this one, but suffered one of the most lopsided home losses in their history.
“I just told the guys that we’re going to have some nights like this because it’s where we’re at,” Steve Clifford told reporters after the game. “Listen, it was a bad performance. I’m in charge of the team and we’ve got to do better.”
The Magic’s 124-87 loss to the Bucks on Sunday trails only a pair of 40-point beatdowns, — to the Jazz in 2017 and to the Pistons in 1991 — as the biggest home L’s. And that was without Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks made up for his absence with a balanced attack that featured strong ball movement and efficient shooting that was aided at times by some poor closeouts by the Magic. Milwaukee shot 48.9 percent from the field (and still grabbed 12 offensive rebounds), making 19 of 40 three-point attempts, and assisted on 28 of 46 field goals. Six players finished in double figures for the Bucks, led by Khris Middleton, who had 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, to go with 8 rebounds and five assists.
The Magic were without Chuma Okeke due to a sore hip. In his place was Gary Harris, making his first start with the Magic to bring Orlando’s grand total of different starting lineups used during a season full of injuries and trades to 25.
Not a single Magic started reached double figures, with Harris and Michael Carter-Williams leading the unit with nine points each. The starters combined to shoot 35.9 percent from the field, going just 2-for-15 from deep. Overall, the Magic shot 37.2 percent and made just 8 of 36 three-point attempts (22.2 percent).
The lone offensive bright spot was Mo Bamba, who once again set a new career-high by scoring 21 points in 21 minutes. Bamba got off to a quick start by scoring seven first-quarter points.
He would miss just one of his six shots from deep, finishing 8-for-11 overall.
The only other member of the Magic to finish in double figures was Cole Anthony, who needed 16 shots to reach 12 points, as he missed all six of his three-point shots. The rookie did make some nice finishes at the rim, and also added seven rebounds and five assists, and had just one turnover in 27 minutes.
The Magic have now lost five in a row, and at 17-36 trail the Pistons by just one game for worst record in the East.
They’ll look to salvage the final game of their four-game homestand in the second night of a back-to-back against the Spurs on Monday.