Bucks 116, Magic 111
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Ruben Patterson thinks he’s more of a young guy than a veteran leader.
But with his best friend, Michael Redd, still watching from the sideline, Patterson scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 116-111 on Tuesday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” said Patterson, an eight-year veteran who is playing for a new contract, either with Milwaukee or elsewhere after coming over from Denver in the offseason in a deal for Joe Smith. “I’m just having fun, man. You know, 31 is still young. I’m still young. I’ve got fresh legs.”
The Bucks have still lost 15 of their last 18 games, in part because Redd remains sidelined with a sprained left knee.
Milwaukee hopes to hit its stride when Redd returns as early as this week from an absence of at least 16 games.
“I told Mike, ‘I’m winning this game for us. I’m tired of losing,”’ Patterson said. “He said, ‘Go out and do your thing.”’
The Bucks finally found the much-needed offense they’ve been missing since Redd’s departure with four players scoring 20 points or more, and Patterson was the best of the bunch. He scored eight straight points as Milwaukee seized control late in the fourth quarter, starting with a free throw to make it 99-94. On the Bucks’ next possession, he hit a desperation, 29-foot rainbow 3-pointer before Dwight Howard answered with an alley-oop slam to make it 102-96.
Next, Patterson picked off Jameer Nelson’s pass, the 17th and final turnover of the game for the Magic, and was grabbed hard on the ensuing fast break by Hedo Turkoglu, who was whistled for a flagrant foul.
Patterson hit both free throws, then followed Mo Williams’ miss with an emphatic dunk off the carom to give the Bucks a 106-96 advantage with 3:23 left.
Orlando never got closer than the final margin as both teams traded free throws. Milwaukee finished 29-of-46 from the line, while Orlando was 26-of-38.
“When four guys score 20 points or more, you know you’re not playing good defense,” Magic coach Brian Hill said. “It’s just disappointing because it was one of our poorest defensive efforts of the year.”
Orlando started the fourth quarter by missing its first five shots and going 10:45 spanning the final two quarters with only one field goal. At one point in the dry spell, Bo Outlaw slapped an empty chair repeatedly after failing to save a loose ball that had bounced high off Patterson and would have been the Magic’s ball anyway.
Still, Orlando pulled within four before Patterson’s spurt began.
“We could’ve taken some better shots, but it was the defense tonight that lost us the game,” Howard said.
The Bucks held the lead for most of the game until Orlando took a 78-77 advantage midway through the third quarter on a 7-1 run made up entirely of free throws. But Bell and Boykins hit back-to-back 3s and Boykins scored the last eight points of the quarter for the Bucks to put them back ahead going into the fourth.
Orlando, which went 4-of-10 from the field and 14-of-21 from the free-throw line in the third quarter, only had a slam by Darko Milicic over the stretch of 10:45 until Arroyo’s jumper made it 96-86 with 7:54 to play.
With Redd in the lineup, the Bucks averaged 103.2 points per game, but since his injury Jan. 5 against Cleveland, Milwaukee had averaged 90.5 points.
“I think we have a lot of weapons, even with Mike out,” Bell said. “We have a lot of scoring options. Tonight everybody came up big for us.”
Redd will travel with Milwaukee to Oklahoma City when the Bucks play the Hornets on Thursday. Redd said that he was very sore after his first practice Monday and wouldn’t know if he would play until gametime. … Bucks backup C Dan Gadzuric will miss six weeks after dislocating his left shoulder on Saturday night against the Heat. Gadzuric had averaged just under 13 minutes per game. … Bogans scored 14 points in the second quarter. … The Rutgers men’s basketball team watched the game. The Scarlet Knights play No. 11 Marquette on Wednesday night.