Magic and Bucks meet at Bradley Center
After opening a five-game road trip on a sour note in Miami Sunday afternoon, the Orlando Magic are probably happy to see the Milwaukee Bucks on the slate tonight in a showdown at the Bradley Center.
Orlando was blitzed by the Heat, 90-78, in a game that was more out of reach than the final score indicated. Dwight Howard posted his 25th double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds and Ryan Anderson was held in check to the tune of nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, including a 2-for-5 effort from three-point range. J.J. Redick had a team-best 17 points for the Magic, who entered the game having won four straight and eight of 10 contests.
"They just played harder than us. They did do well tonight," Howard said of the Southeast-rival Heat. "They clogged the paint. They forced me to pass the ball out. It was a pretty good defensive effort. Every time I caught the ball in the paint everyone was there."
The Magic are 8-6 away from home this season and are scheduled to visit New Jersey, Atlanta and Washington on the current trek. Guard Jason Richardson was a late scratch from the lineup because of chest pain and is questionable for Monday's game. He is averaging 12.2 points in 26 games this season and posted a season-best 31 points against the Bucks on Feb. 11.
Milwaukee hopes to avoid its sixth straight loss as the host and brings a 7-7 home ledger into this evening's contest.
The Bucks were able to break a four-game losing streak with Sunday's 92-85 victory over the New Jersey Nets in the Garden State. Ersan Ilyasova had career-highs of 29 points and 25 rebounds, while Brandon Jennings chipped in 17 points and Carlos Delfino added 11 for the Bucks, who won for only the third time in their last 10 contests.
"We weren't as sharp as we'd like to be, but we got enough stops," said Bucks head coach Scott Skiles. "We had a pretty good defensive game all night. We reacted pretty well all over the floor, had some good quickness, and played with some pop."
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who did not play in a loss to Orlando on Friday because of Skiles' decision, came off the bench and added 12 points and eight rebounds. Ilyasova is averaging 18.0 points and 12.8 rebounds in his last five games and is only one of three players in team history with a 25/25 game. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 10 and Swen Nater had one. Nater was the last 25/25 Bucks player and turned the trick on Dec. 19, 1976 against Atlanta. Nater had 30 points and 33 boards in that one.
Center Drew Gooden has missed back-to-back contests because of wrist and knee issues and is questionable for tonight. The last time Milwaukee dropped six in a row in Brew City was during the 1999-00 campaign.
The Bucks have lost the first two meetings with Orlando this season and five straight overall in this series. The Magic are 15-3 in the previous 18 matchups between the teams.