Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
Going into this game, it didn’t seem very likely that the Magic would have a shot. They were without three starters (Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, and Glen Davis) and the Bucks’ depth looked to be too much for the inexperienced portion of Orlando’s roster that was healthy to handle. And that’s pretty much exactly how it played out.
The Magic looked lethargic from the get-go, falling behind to the Bucks and never really climbing back into it. The nine-point final margin of victory for Milwaukee is about indicative of how the game went. Orlando stayed in it just enough to not be blown out, but never really made a serious run. They’d make a shot or two and the Bucks would respond with a run of their own, halting any momentum the Magic may have been building. That’s, more or less, how it went for 48 minutes.
There were some silver linings for the Magic. Maurice Harkless had his best game of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds in a rare start. Kyle O’Quinn also made the case for more minutes, scoring nine points in 11 minutes on an efficient 4-for-7 shooting. Nikola Vucevic was outstanding, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
But without Jameer Nelson, E’Twaun Moore was forced to start at point guard, which is usually a recipe for disaster. He had an atrocious shooting night (3-for-14 from the floor) and had four turnovers. Ish Smith wasn’t much better.
Even the Magic’s best player and most reliable distributor outside of Nelson, J.J. Redick, had an off night offensively — and this was before a shoulder injury took him out of the game late. Hopefully that’s nothing too serious because the last thing the Magic need right now is another injury to a key player (as well as their best trade chip).
The Magic were simply outplayed by the Bucks at both ends of the floor from start to finish. That happens to every team, but it happens more often to a team like the Magic and especially when they’re playing without three of their steadiest veteran scorers.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
Maurice Harkless had something of a breakout game in a losing effort, notching his first career double-double and adding four steals.
The Magic were playing extremely shorthanded, being without Jameer Nelson (bruised left forearm), Glen Davis (fractured left foot), and Arron Afflalo (strained left calf). Nelson’s absence in particular was felt, as E’Twaun Moore is not a point guard by any means.
That Was … Potentially Scary
J.J. Redick suffered a shoulder injury late and will miss at least the Magic’s next game, just one of a myriad of injuries to key players the Magic have been dealing with lately.