Magic Hold Off Late Bucks Rally In Ugly Win


In what had to have been one of the more poorly played NBA basketball games this season, the Orlando Magic survived a late rally to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 97-87. The Magic had a 16-point lead at the half but appeared to let up in the second half, allowing the Bucks to close the gap to as little as 5 before making a couple of timely shots to put the game out of reach. Dwight Howard led the way with 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy was obviously very displeased with the effort his club gave in the second half. The Magic allowed the Bucks to score 54 second half points and offensively, it wasn’t much better – the Magic posted an effective field goal percentage of just 47.1%.

“Well, I thought we played a very good first half,” Van Gundy said, pausing there until he was asked his first question.

“I thought in the second half, they clearly played a lot hard than us… we didn’t put much into the game,” he added.

You can read more about the game after the jump.

  • Van Gundy went on to say they were “lucky” that they’ve had one good half of their last two games, citing the second half of the Golden State game as the other good half they’ve had.
  • The Magic let Milwaukee get what Van Gundy called too many “energy and effort baskets,” meaning the Bucks got too many second chance points, points of loose balls, etc…
  • Howard dominated his matchup with Bogut on both ends, holding to 6 points and 7 rebounds. He fouled out in just 30 minutes of play
  • The Magic looked a bit flat and complacent in the second half. Jameer Nelson thought the team did a little too much “score board watching” which appeared to be pretty obvious. There’s no way the Magic should have let a team that is already offensively challenged and short-handed get back into the game.
  • Van Gundy used Anderson’s recent lack of rebounding over the last few games as an example of complacency, saying that when Anderson returned and was fighting for time, he was fighting a lot harder on the glass.
  • Gilbert Arenas had a night he’d like to forget, scoring just 6 points on 9 shots. He had a bad night on the defensive end as well. The bench play overall wasn’t nearly as good as it has been recently. Only J.J. Redick, who scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 4 assists, showed consistent energy.
  • Van Gundy also thought Howard, Nelson and Jason Richardson had pretty good energy.
  • As ugly as the game was for the most part, Jason Richardson put together a nice highlight reel, catching two alley oops – one that saw him get as high as he’s been since he won the 2003 slam dunk contest. On the other, which came at the end of the game, Richardson completed a reverse dunk off of the alley-oop. Howard also caught an alley-oop from Turkoglu but they failed to connect on two other occasions.
  • Six of Orlando’s eight rotation players scored in double figures.
  • The 33 points Milwaukee scored was a season-low.
  • Redick’s 7 rebounds tied a career-high.
  • The Magic are now 20-6 when holding their opponent under 100 points.

Next Up: The Magic will host the Houston Rockets Friday night.

Final Thought: It was ugly, but it was still Orlando’s seventh straight win.

Here was my original recap:

"Magic won. It was pretty boring. They’ll probably win again Friday."

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days ( and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).