Milwaukee Bucks @ Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic are playing some of their best basketball of the season – they have won three straight games and six of their last seven. The Magic will try to make it four in a row when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. The Magic and the Bucks have already met twice this season with the Magic taking both games.

The 21-25 Bucks got off to a surprisingly good 8-3 start but have been very inconsistent and have had more than their share of struggles since. The Bucks have been playing better lately. They have won four of their last five games and that includes two straight wins over the Miami Heat. The Bucks have not been a good road team – they are just 6-18 away from Milwaukee this season and the Magic have been one of the league’s best home teams posting a record of 18-4 at Amway Arena.

Tip-off from the Am is set for 7:00 pm EST and you can watch the game on FSN. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen to it locally on WDBO AM 580 and in Spanish on WONQ AM 1030.

Neither Jameer Nelson or Mickael Pietrus are expected to miss time due to their injuries.

"Nelson was injured in the first quarter and did not return as a precaution, Smith said.“I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play (Tuesday night),” Smith said.Pietrus sprained his ankle and said after the game that he might miss a week.But Smith spoke with Pietrus on Monday and said, “He’s feeling better. Swelling is minimal. Where it goes, I don’t know. It looked good. I don’t expect him missing any time.”"

Brian Schmitz has the story here.

Update: Josh Robbins reports that Mickael Pietrus will not play tonight.

"Stan Van Gundy says Mickael Pietrus (ankle) will not play 2nite for the #Magic vs #Bucks. Vince Carter to start as usual."

Update #2: Jameer Nelson is a game-time decision.

Update #3: Jameer Nelson will not play in Tuesday night’s game.

The Line: Orlando – 10


Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Rashard Lewis
Matt Barnes
Vince Carter
Jameer Nelson

Milwaukee Bucks

Andrew Bogut
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Carlos Delfino
Charlie Bell
Brandon Jennings

The Magic have played two tough games against the Bucks this season but have managed to win both games by rallying after trailing at the half. In their first meeting, the Magic had to come from behind and got a jumper by Rashard Lewis with 44 seconds left to win 100-98. Orlando trailed by eight points at halftime of their second meeting but outscored the Bucks by 33 in the second half (76-43) and got a 117-92 win.

Point Guards usually torch the Magic and Brandon Jennings is averaging 19.0 points per game against Orlando this season, but has shot just 14-of-41 (34.2%). Instead, the Magic have really had trouble defending backup Point Guard Luke Ridnour. Ridnour is averaging 18.0 points per game on 16-of-25 shooting (64.0%) against the Magic this season.

The Bucks offense has had some trouble this season. They are averaging 98.5 points per game and rank just 24th in the league in offensive efficiency (101.1). Milwaukee has been led by Brandon Jennings’ 17.7 points per game, but he has tailed off somewhat since his hot start and is shooting just 38.2% this season. He is, however, dishing out 6.2 assists per game. Andrew Bogut is scoring 15.9 points per game and grabbing 10.3 rebounds per game and is having his best season, but the former number one overall pick still has some problems with consistency.

14-year veteran Jerry Stackhouse has been a member of the Bucks for six games now and is averaging 7.0 points per game on 45.9% shooting.

Scott Skiles’ defense has been pretty good this season. They rank eighth in defensive efficiency and give up 98.5 points per game (the same amount of points they score per game).

Magic Shooting Guard Vince Carter’s struggles have been well documented. Carter has played in nine games since injuring his shoulder and has only scored in double figures three times. Carter didn’t play in the fourth quarter against Detroit and saw just over a minute of action against the Boston Celtics in the final period. If Carter is going to break out of his seemingly year-long slump, this would be the game to do it. Carter is averaging 25.0 points per game on 51.3% shooting against the Bucks this season.

The Bucks should be no match for Dwight Howard. Howard got into foul trouble against the Bucks in Orlando on December 30th and playing just 24 minutes. He still managed to score 17 points and 10 rebounds. Back in their first meeting, Howard dominated the Bucks, scoring 25 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Howard has shown a lot of diversity in his offense – he’s backing guys down from longer distance, he’s hitting a few jump shots and is shooting his running hook better than ever. That should continue on Tuesday night.

The Magic had Monday off while the Bucks had to play in Miami.

For more on the Bucks, check out Bucksketball and We’re Bucked.

Don’t forget that Tuesday night is Nascar Night at the arena. Here’s the official word from the Magic.

"WHO: All Orlando Magic fans are invited to NASCAR Night at the Amway Arena, taking place during the Magic’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.WHAT: NASCAR NIGHTIn celebration of the upcoming Daytona 500 NASCAR race in nearby Daytona Beach, the Orlando Magic will be hosting NASCAR Night on Tuesday, February 2 when they face the Milwaukee Bucks. The evening will feature:An opportunity to win NASCAR memorabilia and Daytona 500 tickets.A NASCAR pace car at the pregame Fan Fest on the north side of Amway Arena.Photo opportunities with the NASCAR Series trophy at Fan Fest.NASCAR driver Mike Skinner to greet fans and sign autographs.WHEN: Tuesday, February 2, 2010Fan Fest: 5:30 p.m.Magic vs. Bucks Tip-off: 7 p.m.WHERE: Amway Arena600 W Amelia StOrlando, FL 32801"

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)