Orlando Magic Grades: Milwaukee Bucks 111, Orlando Magic 100

Ersan Ilyasova was a catalyst for the Milwaukee Bucks to defeat the Orlando Magic and score a victory. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Ersan Ilyasova was a catalyst for the Milwaukee Bucks to defeat the Orlando Magic and score a victory. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks made the 50/50 plays late without Giannis Antetokounmpo to defeat the Orlando Magic. The Magic split their pair against the East’s elite.

38. 111. 89. Final. 100

The Orlando Magic had ground their way back into the game. The defense did its job after a rough start to the game and slowly the offense was starting to bubble. A 19-point deficit slowly got whittled down to as little as two in the fourth quarter.

The Magic were in the fight. It would take scratching every loose ball out and every 50/50 play to defeat the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks (even without Giannis Antetokounmpo).

Increasingly, those plays fell the Bucks’ way. there were two possessions in the game where the Bucks got four chances and three offensive rebounds to score. The first in the second quarter ended with a Donte DiVincenzo mid-range jumper.

The second came in the fourth quarter, ending in a Kyle Korver 3-pointer. The Magic could momentarily recover from these plays. But they add up.

There are only so many times that Nikola Vucevic can save the ball and make the right play only to see it go straight to Ersan Ilyasova for an open three. Or to see George Hill hit a three and get fouled only to see Ersan Ilyasova rebound the missed free throw and spot-up again for three.

Orlando again showed grit and fight when the team fell behind. But it could not close the game and left one on the board against an undermanned Milwaukee team in a 111-100 loss at Fiserv Forum on Saturday.

The Magic again fell behind on a big run in the late first quarter. Orlando gave up a 17-1 run when the team broke the lineup, struggling to get into the paint or create any kind of movement. The Bucks made them pay with a barrage of 3-point shots.

But Orlando was able to work itself back into the game. The defense started to pick up its intensity and the Magic were able to hit from the outside. Orlando made 14 of 35 3-pointers (40.0 percent). That was a big reason that kept the team in the game.

The Bucks struggled with the Magic’s defense when they got themselves set. Milwaukee turned it over 22 times for 29 points. Jonathan Isaac tied a Magic franchise record with eight steals. Orlando was active.

But it came down to those 50/50 plays. It came down to executing and making shots. And it came down to scratching out that rebound or defending that 3-pointer.

The Bucks had 14 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. They hit 13 of 37 3-pointers, making a flurry of them in the fourth quarter to create some separation.

Orlando had its chance. Down four with 10:53 to play, Korver hit that three on the third chance the Bucks got on that possession. Milwaukee extended the lead back out to 15 and the Magic ran out of time to get themselves back one last time.

C. Orlando Magic coach <a href=. PG. Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN

B. Finding a way to get paint touches against the Milwaukee Bucks is probably one of the most difficult things to do. They essentially play a zone defense, looking to drop and let players into the paint, only to surround them and keep them from those truly good shots right at the rim. It is tough to get a good look in the paint against this team.<p><a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

F. Orlando Magic. JONATHAN ISAAC. B+. When <a href=

F. If you are looking for an area where there was a real breakdown defensively, <a href=. C. Orlando Magic. KHEM BIRCH

29-5. 1st East. MILWAUKEE BUCKS. A-. The Milwaukee Bucks played without Giannis Antetokounmpo and it was clear they missed him. They were not able to attack the lane as quickly and their defense was not as strong as it would have been with him. But, by another token, they still played much the same way. Their system still caught the Orlando Magic trying to drive into their sea of length and they could still share the ball to get open shots.<p>Milwaukee is a veteran team that understands its system and how to get good shots. They stick with it and they play hard. Ersan Ilyasova was the biggest killer making sure Milwaukee had many bites at the apple. He scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. All three of his offensive rebounds felt like killers.</p><p>The Bucks played with good poise even as the Magic’s defense tightened its grip some. And eventually, they found their breakthrough. All because they were willing to stick with it. The Bucks got contributions from veterans who needed to step up and they beat a team that was still trying to find its way.</p>

Next. Orlando Magic still building on fragile foundation. dark

The Orlando Magic are 14-18 and eighth in the Eastern Conference, 2.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets for seventh and 1.5 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for eighth. They return to action Monday at the Amway Center against the Atlanta Hawks.