Bucks-Magic Preview

The Associated Press

The Orlando Magic offered the NBA one of its biggest early-season surprises last week when they shut down the league's highest-scoring team to improve to 3-0 at home.

Though they haven't won since, the Magic have a good chance to turn things around Wednesday night when they seek their 15th straight home win over the injury-plagued Milwaukee Bucks.

The Magic (3-5) beat New Orleans, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Clippers by an average of 16.3 points before Friday's 91-89 loss to Boston dropped them to 3-1 at home. The Clippers, averaging an NBA-best 109.9 points, were held to a season low in a 98-90 loss.

Orlando's defense has been outstanding at the Amway Center, ranking near the top of the league by allowing 89.3 points and a 36.7 field goal percentage.

The Magic, however, haven't been able to duplicate those numbers on the road, giving up 110.3 points during an 0-4 start that includes a 120-105 loss at Boston on Monday.

"I really don't feel like we were really in the game at any point just simply because we couldn't get stops," said guard Arron Afflalo, who is averaging 20.7 points during the overall three-game slide. "You know, to win on the road you have to get stops."

Returning to Orlando to open a three-game homestand, the Magic will look to continue their dominant run against the Bucks (2-4) in central Florida.

They've limited Milwaukee to an average of 89.2 points during a 14-game win streak in Orlando. The Bucks haven't won there since Dec. 29, 2004, when Michael Redd scored 29 in a 111-105 victory.

Since posting season highs in points and shooting percentage (50.0) in a 109-104 win over Cleveland last Wednesday, Milwaukee has scored a combined 178 while shooting 40.0 percent in back-to-back losses.

The Bucks put up only 62 points over the first three quarters Tuesday in a 118-95 loss in Miami. The defense could not compensate for the woeful offense, giving up season highs in points and field goal percentage (58.2).

"There were moments where I was very disappointed, particularly when people were driving to the basket and we're moving out of their way," coach Larry Drew said. "I will not tolerate that."

It hasn't helped that Milwaukee is without several key players due to injury, including Ersan Ilyasova (ankle), Luke Ridnour (back) and Larry Sanders (thumb).

O.J. Mayo, who had a combined 56 points and went 10 for 14 from 3-point range in the previous two games, hit a pair of 3s for a season-low six points against the Heat. John Henson and Gary Neal picked up the slack with a combined 36 points on 13-of-21 shooting.

Mayo, who leads the Bucks with 16.5 points per game, has averaged 15.0 points despite missing 14 of his 17 3-point attempts over four career games in Orlando.

Henson had 17 points and a career-high 25 rebounds in a 113-103 overtime loss in Orlando on April 10 - Milwaukee's lone defeat in three meetings last season.

Orlando's Nikola Vucevic had 30 points and 20 boards in that contest, while Tobias Harris posted 30 points and 19 rebounds.

Vucevic, who averaged 23.3 points and 15.7 rebounds against the Bucks last season, had 15 and 10 at Boston on Monday. Harris, though, isn't expected back for several weeks due to a sprained ankle.

What to Read Next