Milwauke Bucks @ Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic look to win their fourth straight game when they host the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night. The Magic are 19-11 while the Bucks are just 12-17.

These two teams played Saturday. The Magic rallied from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit for a 99-94 victory behind Jason Richardson’s 31 points.

The Magic rank 13th in offensive rating (103.6), 12th in defensive rating (101.1) and play at the league’s sixth-slowest pace (89.3). The Bucks are 15th in offensive rating (102.9), 19th in defensive rating (104.7) and play at the 11th-fastest pace (92.2).

Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST and will be shown locally on Sun Sports.

As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5  and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

The officials for tonight’s game are Derrick Stafford, Bennie Adams and Marat Kogut.

The Line:  Orlando – 8.0 (191.5u)


Milwaukee Bucks

Drew Gooden Jon Leuer*
Luc Richard Mbah a MouteErsan Ilyasova**
Carlos Delfino
Shaun Livingston
Brandon Jennings

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Ryan Anderson
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

*Drew Gooden is out with a sprained right wrist.

**Scott Skiles decided to bring Luc Richard Mbah a Moute off of the bench.

***Glen Davis will miss the game due to his father’s funeral.

The last time these two teams met, the Magic were up and down and relied on a big three-point shooting night to bail them out – that kind of sums up their season so far.

The Bucks chose to try to take away Dwight Howard and they did a pretty good job of that. Although Howard admitted he was frustrated because he missed shots he thought he should have made, the Bucks held him to just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting. However, the Bucks allowed the Magic to hit 15 three-pointers (they same number they hit in Wednesday’s win over Philadelphia), including nine from Jason Richardson.

Both coaches – Stan Van Gundy and Scott Skiles – usually have their squads among the top five defensive teams. This season, neither is playing anything like that. The Magic have shown improvement on that end, but the Bucks continue to give up big numbers. They were the league’s fourth best defensive team last season and are just 19th this season. Orlando finished third last season and is currently 13th.

Milwaukee’s guards, specifically Brandon Jennings, are the kind of guys who could have big nights against Orlando, but Jameer Nelson is playing much better. He’s coming off arguably his best game of the season (12 points & 14 assists against the 76ers) and helped keep Jennings at bay in the first meeting (7 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds).

The Magic will have to be wary of Ersan Ilyasova – the native of Turkey has been excellent lately and that includes a 17-point, 16-rebound performance against the Magic Saturday. It will be up to Glen Davis (and Ryan Anderson) to slow Milwaukee’s sixth man.

Although the Milwaukee bigs frustrated Howard the first time around, Howard shouldn’t let it happen again. With Bogut out, Milwaukee doesn’t have a true center in their rotation.

Bucks Resources:

Behind The Buck Pass
Brew Hoop
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider ( and is the co-host of the Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)