Orlando Magic Grades: Milwaukee Bucks 121, Orlando Magic 107

Orlando Magic guard James Ennis lost his cool as the Milwaukee Bucks' physicality got under the Magic's skin. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Orlando Magic guard James Ennis lost his cool as the Milwaukee Bucks' physicality got under the Magic's skin. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic never got started as the Milwaukee Bucks stifled them to take control of the series and get under the Magic’s skin.

89. 107. 38. Final. 121

The pressure was already bubbling over for the Orlando Magic. The deficit in Game 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks was ballooning and the team was short on answers.

Again the ball pressure was getting to them, knocking them off course and preventing them from running through their sets. Any brief breakthrough was met with a missed shot. And now the Magic were losing focus.

Turnovers fed the Bucks’ fast break and the team was cracking.

This is exactly how the Orlando Magic lost Game 2 and, more worryingly, exactly how the team lost last year’s playoff series with the Toronto Raptors.

Eventually, it would bubble over. So when Marvin Williams and James Ennis got tied up fighting for a rebound the two started a shoving match. Williams stopping short as they ran back to the other end and giving him a hard shove. Ennis was not taking that.

The two needed to be separated with the Bucks coaching staff, including former player Darvin Ham, getting there to intercede. Ennis knocked Ham’s arm away as he tried to separate himself from Williams.

The two got technicals and ejections for their trouble. But the point was made: Milwaukee was under Orlando’s skin.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to make a living in the paint with the Magic turning the ball over. And Khris Middleton finally got things going after two lackluster games in this series.

Milwaukee opened as much as a 34-point lead before a late run closed the gap. The Magic find themselves in a familiar and frustrating 2-1 hole after a 121-107 loss. The tall order just got taller.

The Bucks finally looked like the juggernaut that ran through the Eastern Conference. They forced turnovers — 18 of them for 25 points — and turned them into fast-break points — 14, still far below the team’s season average. But that little bit of breath helped unravel the Magic finally.

Coach Steve Clifford said this was the first game of the series where the team did not compete. Indeed, this was not about missed shots as it might have been in Game 2. Orlando made a lot of careless mistakes before falling into the same execution and shot-decision mistakes that cost the team in Game 1.

Falling behind by 30 points felt like a wake-up call. Terrence Ross and D.J. Augustin woke up long enough to cut the lead down to 12 midway through the fourth quarter. But the Bucks put the game away from there.

EVAN FOURNIER. D. The Orlando Magic have few shooters and few offensive options. Seeing any of their best players struggle will make it harder to win. The window for a Magic win is a narrow one that they have to squeeze through. And right now, the Magic are not getting much consistently outside of <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic

<a href=. C. Orlando Magic. NIKOLA VUCEVIC. B

Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN. B+. <a href=. PG

B. The Orlando Magic have to find a way to get their shooters going. And with Evan Fournier struggling, <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. TERRENCE ROSS

Bucks Lead series 2-1. Game 4: Monday. MILWAUKEE BUCKS. A. The Milwaukee Bucks have not looked like themselves in the bubble. This is the first time where they really flexed their muscles and looked like the 70-win juggernaut they were on their way to being. And that is possibly a scary prospect for the league.<p>Game 2, the Orlando Magic competed and did some things to make the Milwaukee Bucks sweat. That was not a great game from the Bucks, the Magic just were not good enough. This was Milwaukee putting an all-out blitz on Orlando and never letting up. The Bucks broke the Magic in this one in a lot of ways.</p><p>Things start with Giannis Antetokounmpo (35 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, 12-for-14 shooting). But it was about getting Khris Middleton (17 points, eight rebounds and six assists) moving off the ball and into good shot areas. It was the bench keeping the pressure on and the defense just stifling anything in the paint (24 points allowed in the paint).</p>

Next. Orlando Magic's margin for error too small. dark

The Orlando Magic now trail in the series 2-1. Game 4 is Monday at 1:30 p.m.