ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Magic came into Thursday rematch against the Milwaukee Bucks short of Robin Lopez and Hassani Gravett, who are in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.
With that blow, the Magic struggled against the Bucks again, as expected. During Tuesday’s postgame press conference, Wendell Carter Jr. lamented the fact that the Magic allowed too many Bucks points in the second quarter, which is what cost them the game. Thursday’s performance had a similar consequence. The Bucks landed three-pointer after three-pointer on the Magic.
The Bucks led the Magic 32-24 at the end of first quarter.
With just under seven minutes left in the quarter, the Bucks showed out with Giannis Antetokounpo’s alley oop dunk from Khris Middleton. The Magic answered with their own dunk by way of Moritz Wagner.
The Bucks led the Magic 63-51 at halftime.
Unlike the last few home games–in which the Magic weaken in the third quarter and leave points on the table–the Magic came alive in the third quarter Thursday, at least until three minutes left.
With 6:05 left in the third, Franz Wagner tied the score at 71 with a three-pointer. The tie was immediately broken on the next play by Bobby Portis Jr., but kudos to the Magic for rallying in the third quarter to close the previous double-digit gap. With little over five minutes left in the third, Wagner tied the game again with another three-pointer, 74-74, giving the Magic a semblance of a fighting chance. Gary Harris and Wendell Carter Jr. contributed shots that kept the lead switching between the Bucks and Magic several times.
The one chronic problem for the Magic: fouls. Each time the Magic would nab the lead, one of the players would foul. Ignas Brazdeikis, Admiral Schofield, and Gary Harris had fouls, which sent Bucks’ Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo and DeMarcus Cousins to the free throw line. At the end of the third, the Bucks were back to a double-digit lead: 96-85.
All in all, fouls and rebounds were the Magic’s two biggest Achilles heels in Thursdays match. The Magic only had 27 rebounds to the Bucks’ 42 in the fourth quarter; and 20 fouls to the Bucks’ 15.
The final score: 136-118.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com