Magic 98, Bucks 73
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Even if they aren’t quite back on track, the slumping Orlando Magic at least took a step in the right direction.
Battie scored 12 in the first half, when the Magic built a 27-point advantage. Bogans had 14 points and tied his career high with seven assists, while Milicic had 14 points, four blocks and tied his career high with 10 rebounds as the Magic won for only the second time in their last 10 games.
“A win like this helps your mental health a great deal and that goes for everybody, players and coaches alike,” Magic coach Brian Hill said. “You can relax a little more and it makes coming to the gym a lot easier.”
The Magic needed the contributions from Battie, Bogans and Milicic to overcome another poor performance from Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. The Magic’s two young stars were in foul trouble most of the game and combined for only 11 points.
Milwaukee started intentionally fouling Howard in the middle of the fourth quarter to try and chip away at what was a 21-point deficit. The Magic center hit just two of eight free throw attempts over a two-minute span, opening the door for the Bucks to cut the deficit to 83-70 with 4:39 left in the game.
Hill pulled Howard at that point and the Magic outscored the Bucks 15-3 the rest of the way.
“I’m thinking too much instead of just going up there and shooting it,” Howard said. “I know everybody is going to keep doing it. I just have to play through it.”
Milwaukee got 23 points from Mo Williams, but the Bucks shot only 37 percent for the game. They have lost 13 of their last 15 games.
“I have never been through a stretch where we lost so many games and played this badly,” said Bucks guard Charlie Bell, one of only three Milwaukee players in double figures with 11 points. “We’ve got to realize there is still a lot of season to be played and we can make up for it.”
Orlando dominated from the start, rolling to a 56-29 halftime lead behind 13 points from Bogans and 12 from Battie, neither of whom has been much of an offensive contributor this season.
Bogans was 5-of-9, including three 3-pointers, while Battie was 5-for-5 from the field in the first two periods. The Magic shot 55 percent from the field as a team and limited Milwaukee to just 31.6 percent.
Bogans and Battie had six points apiece in a 14-0 Magic run that gave Orlando a 23-9 lead with just over 3 minutes left in the first quarter. Orlando pushed the lead to 38-18 on a layup by Bogans with 8:48 left in the second period and kept the lead above 20 points until the middle of the third period.
Orlando went scoreless for a seven-minute stretch of the third quarter and Milwaukee ran off 15 straight points. Bell scored the last eight points of the run, including a 3-pointer that made it 61-47 with 4:59 left in the third quarter. The Bucks had three more shots at cutting into the lead, but couldn’t connect.
Milicic ended the run with a pair of free throws and Orlando managed to keep a 69-53 lead going into the fourth quarter. Milwaukee never got closer than 13 points in the final period.
Milicic had his second double-double in 46 games this season. … Bucks F Charlie Villanueva made his first start since returning from a shoulder injury four games ago. He had six points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes. The Magic are 17-3 when holding opponents under 90 points this season. Milwaukee shot 37.3 percent for the game. The Bucks are 0-16 when shooting under 44.9 percent this season. Orlando outrebounded Milwaukee 51-39, ending a string of three straight games where the Magic have been outrebounded. … The Bucks had 19 turnovers and only 14 assists.