ORLANDO, Fl – The Orlando Magic lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 121-99 on Monday night at the Amway Center. It was Orlando’s third straight loss.
The Magic were able to hang tough with the Bucks through three quarters, ending the third quarter only down four points, 86-82. But in the fourth quarter, things started to fall apart.
The Magic were lead by center Nikola Vucevic who scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, followed by Aaron Gordon, who, in is new role as point-forward, scored 21 points with 8 assists.
Magic head coach Steve Clifford changed Gordon’s role on the floor as a solution to losing point guard Markelle Fultz for the season with a torn ACL.
“Markelle was a big part of our plans for this season. Losing him forced us to make a lot of changes.” Clifford said ” I’m comfortable with Aaron at this position, and he’s going to do some growing into it. He’s comfortable and ready to grow.”
Milwaukee took over the game in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. The Bucks went on a 22-2 run on the Magic, starting with a Giannis Antetokounmpo 3-point shot, followed by a Bobby Portis 3, and three scores by Chris Middleton scores among others. Mo Bamba hit a jump shot for the Magic’s 2 lone points in the stretch.
“poor possessions on offense, lack of purpose, and fouling at the other end of the floor and all of the sudden it’s [a] nine[-point deficit] and then the turnovers hit.” Said Clifford
Another key to the Bucks win was the shutting down of Terrance Ross.
Ross only managed to score four points in 24 + minutes, going only two for six and missing tow 3-point shots. The Bucks focussed on shutting down Ross, as the Magic lean on him for scoring, especially with Fournier and Fultz not playing due to injury.
“We’ve got to find ways to get him open.” Said Clifford “The lack of practice time isn’t really helping us, but that’s the case with every team. We’ll get it done”
During the game, the Magic paid tribute to the life and legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. including a recorded address from Markelle Fultz and messages from various Magic players about King before, during and after the game.
They also included honored accomplishments and contributions of Black leaders in the Central Florida community.
Orlando is scheduled to be in New York to face the Knicks on Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and does not have another home game before the holiday.
The Magic played a tribute video for former Magic point guard DJ Augustine, who signed with the Bucks in free agency.
Orlando goes on the road to face The Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on Wednesday January 15th and Friday January 15th, but then head to Brooklyn to play against the nets the next night on Saturday January 16th.