Orlando has not played all that great on its five-game road trip. However, a stop in Milwaukee might give the Magic a good chance to end the swing with a winning record.
The Magic look to bounce back from their latest defeat by handing the Bucks a third consecutive loss Wednesday night.
Orlando (42-26) averaged 112.3 points while winning two of three to open the trip, but took a step back in Monday’s 97-84 loss to the Lakers. The Magic committed 18 turnovers for the second time in three games and were outscored 56-38 in the second half to lose for the fourth time in six games.
“We’re pretty good when we’re not throwing the ball to the other team,” coach Stan Van Gundy told the Magic’s official website.
“They squared everybody in the paint and they forced me to make plays out to my teammates,” Howard said. “They made it tough for me to score. We’ve just got to learn how to play through it.”
The Magic didn’t fare well without Howard and point guard Jameer Nelson(notes) in their last visit to Milwaukee. With the pair sidelined because of a stomach virus, Orlando shot 41.5 percent in a 96-85 loss to the Bucks on Dec. 4.
Howard, however, made his presence felt in the teams’ last meeting with 28 points and 13 boards in a 97-87 home win Jan. 5. He is averaging 24.4 points and 15.5 rebounds his last 25 games, and 24.5 with 14.0 his last four at Milwaukee.
Though Orlando lost its last trip to the Bradley Center, the Magic have won 14 of 19 overall against a Bucks team that continues to struggle on the offensive end.
After averaging 102.0 points and shooting 50.4 percent while winning three straight over Washington, Cleveland and Philadelphia, the Bucks (26-40) lost 87-56 at Boston on Sunday and 110-85 at Atlanta on Tuesday. Only eight of Milwaukee’s victories have come against teams that currently have winning records.
The Bucks had 39 points at halftime and shot 41.9 percent Tuesday.
“It’s just another one of those games where we didn’t play very well,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.
Despite their struggles against the NBA’s better teams, the Bucks are in 10th place and 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Last in the league in scoring (92.5 points per game) and field goal percentage (42.5 percent), the Bucks have shot 37.2 percent the last two games.
Andrew Bogut(notes) had 21 points with 13 rebounds Tuesday, but point guard Brandon Jennings(notes) was held to four on 1-of-8 shooting. Jennings has totaled 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting the last two games.
Without Howard and Nelson on the court, Bogut had 31 points with 18 rebounds while Jennings had 27 with seven boards and six assists against Orlando in December.
Jennings missed the teams’ January meeting with a foot injury, but Bogut was held to six points and seven rebounds in that contest.