Magic postseason seeding slides after loss to Bucks

In a battle between two of the top four seeds in the East, the Magic and the Bucks both were missing two starters on Wednesday night in Milwaukee’s 117-99 victory at Fiserv Forum

The setback dropped the Magic to the fifth seed in the East.

Bobby Portis (30 points, nine rebounds, five steals) and Damian Lillard (29 points, nine assists, six rebounds) paced the Bucks (49-31).

Forward Paolo Banchero led the Magic (46-34) with 20 points.

Orlando was without forward Franz Wagner (right ankle sprain) and guard Gary Harris (right foot plantar fascia injury maintenance) while Milwaukee didn’t have two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (left soleus strain) and Khris Middleton (left ankle injury management) at home.

For Wagner, it was his second game in a row on the bench after he missed Tuesday’s loss at Houston. The Magic forward suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter of Sunday’s win over Chicago.

He previously missed eight games (Jan. 5-19) due to a past right ankle sprain.

For Harris, Wednesday’s contest was his 28th missed. Part of Orlando’s regular starting lineup since the All-Star break, the veteran guard hasn’t been available on the second night of back-to-backs throughout the year due to maintenance of multiple leg injuries.

Without Wagner and Harris, Magic coach Jamahl Mosley inserted point guard Markelle Fultz and second-year pro Caleb Houstan into Orlando’s starting lineup alongside guard Jalen Suggs, Banchero and center Wendell Carter Jr. against the Bucks (49-31).

Antetokounmpo suffered the right calf strain during Tuesday’s win over No. 1 Boston. He was ruled out Wednesday for the final three games of the regular season, meaning Orlando won’t face the seven-time All-NBA pick on Sunday either.

The Magic host the Bucks at Kia Center to end the regular season after wrapping up their current 3-game trip at Philadelphia on Friday (7).

Orlando entered Wednesday’s contest fourth in the East, one game behind No. 3 New York and tied with No. 5 Cleveland.

The Nos. 7-10 seeds in each conference compete in the Play-In for the Nos. 7 and 8 spots in the playoffs.

That is why Tuesday’s loss at Houston (39-40) came at a bad time for the Magic.

“I really just think it’s about embracing difficult things,” Mosley said ahead of tip-off. “You drop one you’re able to get but then you have to bounce right back because it’s a back-to-back. You’ve got to learn to grow from those games and situations within those games.

“If you would have told us last year that we’d be at this point in the season doing what we’re doing, everybody would sign up for it. [It’s] our ability to embrace that and learn from it each time we step on the floor.”