Orlando (13-41) at Milwaukee (27-24)

Fair Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 8° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Tue Feb 17, 2004
  • TV: SUN, FSN
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Keith Van Horn no longer fit into the New York Knicks’ plans this season. The Milwaukee Bucks feel he is the missing piece they needed.

The Bucks hope the newly acquired forward can give their frontcourt an offensive boost as they continue their push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He’ll make his Milwaukee debut against the Orlando Magic at the Bradley Center.

Van Horn, who was averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Knicks, was acquired Sunday in a three-team trade that sent Tim Thomas to New York and injured center Joel Przybilla to the Atlanta Hawks.

“In acquiring Keith Van Horn, we’ve added an important piece to our frontcourt as we look to build on our team’s strong first half performance,” Bucks general manager Larry Harris said. “Keith has been a solid performer, averaging over 17 points and 7.5 rebounds over his six-plus seasons in the league.”

Thomas was averaging 14.1 points and 4.9 rebounds for Milwaukee, which had the East’s fifth-best record at the All-Star break. But the Bucks feel Van Horn could be an upgrade at the small forward position.

“This is a great addition for us,” All-Star guard Michael Redd said. “Keith is a quality guy, and he’s going to stretch the defense out—maybe more than Tim did.”

The Bucks now hope Van Horn can help them break out of the small funk they hit before the break.

Milwaukee has dropped three of its last four, including a 124-117 loss to the Sacramento Kings last Tuesday. Coach Terry Porter, however, was not too upset with the loss.

“I don’t feel bad,” Porter said. “I’m disappointed at the start, obviously, but they’re the best team in the league. They came in here and we gave them a good run.”

The Magic, who have the worst record in the NBA, lost their last seven before the break. It is their longest skid since losing a team-record 19 straight earlier this season.

Magic coach Johnny Davis was quick to point out that his players have not given up on the season.

“I just think the losing kind of drains you after a while,” Davis said. “Of course, losing also takes away your confidence somewhat, and I think that’s what’s taking place a little bit.”

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