Milwaukee Bucks @ Orlando Magic


After giving one of their worst efforts of the season in a road loss to the Toronto Raptors Sunday, the Orlando Magic return home to take on the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday.

Milwaukee, the east’s fifth seed last season, is still fighting for a playoff berth but are thee games behind the Indiana Pacers for the eighth seed (two games back in the loss column) with just six games to play.

Orlando is now 48-29 and if they finish worse than 4-1, they’ll post their worst record of the Stan Van Gundy era.

These teams have met three times this season with the Magic winning two.

Back on December 4 in the Bradley Center, the Bucks defeated the short-handed Magic 96-85. Orlando was ridden with the flu and were without Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and J.J. Redick because of it. Ryan Anderson was also out with an ankle injury. The Bucks took advantage of Howard’s absence, getting 31 points and 18 rebounds from Andrew Bogut.

They met again on January 5, this time in Orlando. The Magic held the Bucks to just 33 first half points and cruised from there. Corey Maggette led the Bucks with 21 points off of the bench while Howard had 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Magic.

Just about three weeks ago (March 16), the Magic earned an overtime win over the Bucks 93-89 in the Bradley Center. Orlando blew a late game lead thanks to fouling Brandon Jennings while shooting a three-pointer (twice) but managed to out-execute the Bucks at the end of overtime. Jennings’ 23 points led the Bucks while Howard had 31 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks to lead the Magic.

The Bucks are 26th in pace (92.0), last in offensive efficiency (98.9) and  fourth in defensive efficiency (100.0).

The game will be shown locally on Fox Sports Florida. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

Tip off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST.

The Line: Orlando – 8.5, 180.5u


Milwaukee Bucks

Andrew Bogut
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Corey Maggette
John Salmons
Brandon Jennings

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Brandon Bass
Hedo Tukoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

Jon Brockman (sprained left shoulder) is doubtful for Tuesday’s game while Carlos Delfino (bruised right rib cage/chest) is listed as questionable. Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) remains out.

J.J. Redick (abdomen) remains out while Chris Duhon and Gilbert Arenas will return.

The officials will be Dick Bavetta, Curtis Blair and Eric Lewis.

Of Note: The Magic are just 37-42 vs Milwaukee all-time but are 25-14 at home and are 2-1 against the Bucks this season. The Magic were 3-0 against the Bucks last season and have won 10 straight meetings at home. The Magic lost 10 straight meetings from April 20, 1999-January 18, 2002, but won nine straight matchups from February20, 1994-February 23, 1996. Malik Allen appeaerd in 49 games for the Bucks during the 2008-09 season. Bucks players Earl Boykins, Corey Maggette, Keyon Dooling and Drew Gooden all played for the Magic at one time. In fact, Dooling was drafted by the Magic but traded to the Clippers on draft night. He didn’t play in his first game with the Magic until after he signed with the Magic as a free agent in 2005.

Opponent To Watch: Andrew Bogut, C – Bogut had one poor outing against the Magic and one outstanding game but of course, Dwight Howard did not appear in Bogut’s 31-point, 18-rebound performance on November 4 because of the flu. In Bogut’s matchup with Howard, he scored just six points on 2-of-5 shooting. Bogut missed the third meeting with a migraine. Howard lit up Bogut for 28 points and 13 rebounds  on January 5 and is averaging 29.5 points and 17 rebounds per game against the Bucks this season. Bogut is going to have stop Howard from having a “monster” game and score some points for the offensively-challenged Bucks.

What To Watch For: Despite their recent struggles, health is the most important thing for the Magic. Their effort and losses to inferior teams are obviously a cause for concern but getting healthy and preventing any other injuries is extremely important. The Bucks are one of the best defensive teams but they are absolutely awful on the other end. If Orlando’s defense is lit up by the Bucks, that could be a major cause for concern. It’d be nice to see the Magic come out, get a lead and actually put an inferior team away.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger 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).