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Magic 114, Bucks 98: 0-for-Orlando

These amigos found little resistance from the Milwaukee defense.
These amigos found little resistance from the Milwaukee defense.

Box Score

Here's a non-exhaustive list of things that are no longer welcome in the Milwaukee Bucks' locker room: top hats, wands, white rabbits, capes, and Harry Potter novels.

After the three-point show Orlando just put on to earn a season-sweep of Milwaukee, the Bucks have definitely had their fill of witchcraft and wizardry.

For a series that has been decidedly one-sided, the Bucks and Magic combined for a shockingly exciting first half. The Magic started strong with a first quarter that seemed almost entirely composed of Jason Richardson threes and Dwight Howard dunks. For some time, it looked to me like the Magic, not the Bucks, were the most frustrated team on the court, simply because it was such a chore to go through the motions of wiping the floor with Milwaukee. After one quarter, the Magic were sporting an offensive rating of 148.5. The Bucks were scraping by at 86.6.

Then, out of nowhere, the Bucks dominated 12 consecutive minutes of basketball against the Orlando Magic. Milwaukee scored 14 points over the first four minutes of the second quarter and barely fell off that pace over the last eight. They made four three-point shots--all assisted--and got contributions from all over the roster. In about 25 possessions, Milwaukee poured in 39 points. After two quarters, the Bucks were boasting an offensive rating of 120.8. The Magic had "plummeted" all the way to 122.8.

Unfortunately, those 12 minutes produced a larger percentage of Milwaukee's total points than the entire second half. The Magic, meanwhile, continued to watch their offensive production slip--all the way to a still-ridiculous 114.4. Orlando sank more than half of their three-point attempts and dominated the glass, grabbing over 37% of their own misses. All-too familiar symptoms lead to an all-too familiar diagnosis: the Magic are much, much better than the Bucks, and they've now proven it four times in less than a month.

Three Bucks

Brandon Jennings. One night after scorching Atlanta for 34 points in a disappointing loss, Jennings lit up Orlando for 27--again in a disappointing loss. He did it in somewhat similar fashion, earning 8 points from the free-throw line. Surprisingly, he left four more in the same spot, considering how steady his free-throw shooting typically is. The three-point shot wasn't falling tonight either, making only one of his five attempts from deep. But Brandon's quickness was on full display, sometimes to the detriment of the team. He was playing fast and loose, whipping passes around and blowing past defenders. Sometimes those passes found their target (5 assists to 3 turnovers), but his shots found home more often than not (9-17 overall, 8-12 on 2-point shots).

Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks' second-leading scorer, Ersan turned in an efficient performance of his own, making 7-of-13 shots (he was 7-11 before some late misses when the Bucks were just trying to make things look respectable). He made his only three-point attempt and sank all three of his free-throws. The only thing missing was the exorbitant rebounding totals. You can probably thank Dwight Howard for that.

Larry Sanders. A tough choice for the third Buck. There were lots of equally deserving candidates in that "didn't really stand out but didn't really play horribly either" category. But Larry Sanders once again did what he's been doing best: contest and block shots. He made 4-of-5 from the floor for 8 points, but only grabbed one rebound and committed four fouls. Not unexpected when matched up against Dwight, but his length was about the only thing that stood between Superman and the rim, and it...managed.

Three Numbers

40.0% The Magic are the third-best three-point shooting team in the NBA by percentage, making 38.6% of their attempts on the season. So while it might have seemed like Orlando was making a ridiculous number of long-range shots against Milwaukee, their 46/115 total in four games was hardly extraordinary.

60.9. Brandon Jennings' true-shooting percentage over his last two games. Jennings has also officially strung together two games with at least 9 free-throw attempts for the first time in his career. If only we didn't have to cling to small sample sizes so often with this dude.

46.7. If it wasn't the threes raining down, it was missed shots finding their way into the hands of Orlando players. The Magic crashed the glass like crazy in the second half tonight, with a 46.7 offensive rebound rate in the final 24 minutes.

Three Good

Fleeing Flordia. The Bucks don't have to make another trip to Florida this season, thankfully.

21 Minutes of Tobias. Harris found his way into the starting lineup with Shaun Livingston M.I.A, and while he only scored 4 points, 21 minutes is well above his season average. He showed the same aggressive offense that has endeared him to many Bucks fans, and even swiped two balls from the hands of the Magic! ARE YOU WATCHING CLOSELY, ORLANDO???

Hack-a-Dwight. We can debate the merits (or ethics) of the strategy Skiles unveiled during the third quarter, attacking Dwight Howard and repeatedly sending him to the line, but after he missed 8 of his 14 attempts tonight, at least it didn't completely backfire.

Three Bad

Bad Breaks. The Magic ran all over the Bucks to start the game, and they ran all over them in the end, compiling 25 fast break points. The Bucks had 8 points of their own on the break, and managed to turn a 4-on-1 break into a Drew Gooden offensive foul at one point.

Sloppy Starters. The Bucks' starting lineup turned the ball over 15 times, more than the entire roster's per-game average.

Shaun is Gone? Maybe I missed something, but Shaun Livingston still, you know, exists, right? He hasn't played exceptionally well lately, but it seems weird to go straight from the starting lineup to DNP-CD.