ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Orlando Magic (7-27) hosted Giannis Antetokounpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (22-13) at Amway Center in the first of a double-header series Tuesday.
In a bit of good news, the Magic brought back two key players to the court: Moritz Wagner and RJ Hampton. Guard Gary Harris and forwards Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner returned as the Magic’s stalwart starters.
That said, the Magic struggled to land shots in the first half. The first quarter saw Orlando at only 10 for 21 on field goals and two for eight on three-pointers.
During the pregame press conference, Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley shared that the team would use a lot of pick and rolls in their strategy, and they certainly did, with Robin Lopez curling his long arms for stylish passes to the baseline or to the net. Carter slammed in three dunks in the first half, two of which were one-armed pick and rolls from Lopez.
Orlando’s first half leaders: Frantz Wagner with 11 points, Robin Lopez with three assists, and Moritz Wagner with four rebounds.
Center Bobby Portis, Jr. and forward Khris Middleton led scoring in the first half for the Bucks, clocking 17 and 11 points respectively. Star forward Antetokounpo contributed nine points and five defensive rebounds in the first half.
The Bucks led the Magic 72-45 at halftime.
The Magic came out of the locker room dead set on three-pointers. They maintained their pick and roll strategy to spread out the Milwaukee defense, and this time more of their shots were landing. They were still behind in points, but were getting more on the board.
The Bucks led 97-82 by the end of the third quarter.
One contributing factor in the Magic’s loss was fouls. They amassed 25 to the Bucks’ 19, ten of which sent Antetokounpo to the free throw line.
With less than 45 seconds left in the game, Coach Mosley was seen telling a player to stop passing the ball and instead get it up in the air–another weakness that contributed to the Magic’s loss.
The final score: 127-110.
The Magic and Bucks rematch at Amway Center Thursday, December 30 at 7pm Eastern.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org