Tuesday night was a disappointing one for the Orlando Magic, as they fell 134-123 at home to a Milwaukee Bucks team that was missing Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Worse than that, the manner in which they defended during the game was tough to watch, and indicative of a young group that is figuring out how to become a competitive team in the league.
This loss was preceded by another tough home defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers. A damaging couple of nights in terms of the Magic’s hopes of making the Play-in tournament.
Even if that goal now seems beyond them, there is no reason why the Orlando Magic should not be trying to defend at a high level for the rest of the season.
Losing games, missing rotations and getting stung by superstars is understandable, and it is going to happen a lot more on the path to contention.
What is unacceptable however is the manner in which this young group defends on many nights. Lethargic from the jump, and with seemingly no interest in trying hard for 48 minutes.
This is far from the team that has ranked in the top-10 in defense since Dec. 7. Defense has been the Magic’s calling card for this team’s surge to even sniff the Play-In Tournament.
This lethargy needs to be phased out, especially with their defensive potential there for all to see. Let’s examine three players who can help overcome this malaise from now until the end of the season.