Convincing. Dominant. Precise. And the streak is done.
The Milwaukee Bucks grabbed hold of the Orlando Magic from the get-go on Thursday night, and coasted to a 115-100 win at the Amway Center. It's the Bucks' first win in Orlando since 2004, ending a seventeen-game losing streak.
Faced with a size problem down low with Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia out with injuries, Milwaukee (24-22) got another hot shooting night from the backcourt, particularly in the third quarter. Brandon Knight, potentially after finding out he was not selected for the NBA All-Star Game during halftime, had a fourteen point quarter, aiding the Bucks to a 75% shooting frame overall (16-23 fg). Khris Middleton and Jared Dudley helped out as well, with the Bucks hitting five threes in the third, turning a 15-point halftime lead into 25 as Orlando came apart at the seams. At one point, the Milwaukee lead was 29 in the third quarter.
Jason Kidd's club led wire-to-wire, with solid defense pacing the first quarter. John Henson was tasked with patrolling the paint essentially on his own tonight, and started off the ballgame hitting his first three shots and registering a block. Four blocks in all for the Bucks in the first quarter, Orlando (15-34) turned it over five times, and the Bucks led by ten after one, 28-18.
The second quarter belonged to Jerryd Bayless, who for the third straight game took over a quarter offensively. Thirteen points for Bayless in the frame (4-5 fg; 5-5 ft), plus another seven Magic turnovers helped stave off Victor Oladipo's dunk-filled nine-point quarter. Bucks took a 59-44 lead into the locker room.
The second half started with a small run from the Magic, in large part due to Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic. But a 15-2 run ended that and made the result all but official.
Bayless' big quarter outweighed Knight's, and Jerryd finished with a team-high 19. Knight finished with 16 alongside nine assists. Jared Dudley and Khris Middleton both finished with 17. O.J. Mayo (13 pts.), John Henson (12 pts.; 11 rebs.) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (10 pts.) rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Bucks. The Bucks shot just over 51% from the field on the night.
Victor Oladipo finished with a game-high 21 for the Magic, who have now lost seven straight games. Nik Vucevic finished with 17, but the Bucks did a nice job of limiting his damage by getting him into foul trouble early. Vucevic picked up his third with four-and-a-half minutes to go in the first half. The Magic are now 0-16 at home when allowing 100 points.
Kidd made good on his promise and gave Jorge Gutierrez some burn, including a spell to close out the first quarter. Gutierrez finished with three points (1-2 fg; 1-2 ft), one assist and a steal. Also, Kenyon Martin saw 21 minutes tonight due to the thin frontcourt, highlighted by a breakaway steal and slam in the second quarter. That's the most Martin has played in a game since January 14th, 2014, when he played 28 minutes against the Bobcats (they were a thing once) when he was with the Knicks. Giannis started quietly before seeing a fair bit of offense run through him from the high post, and interestingly enough two of his three made field goals were midrange jumpers. He added five assists, three blocks and no turnovers.
The Bucks sweep the Florida tango and head home to take on Portland on Saturday in a match-up of two point guards who have All-Star axes to grind.