Balanced Bucks Stop Shorthanded Magic
Milwaukee 104, Orlando 84
MILWAUKEE, Dec. 3 (Ticker) -- The outside-inside combination of Michael Redd and Dan Gadzuric proved to be too much for the injury-plagued Orlando Magic.
Redd netted a season-high seven 3-pointers en route to 30 points and Gadzuric scored 14 of his 16 points in the pivotal fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks came away with a 104-84 triumph over the Magic.
"We're playing without a lot of guys right now," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "Some guys gave us lift, but down the stretch, we had some turnovers and we had some defensive breakdowns on the pick-and-roll that left Gadzuric open."
Despite their injury woes, the Magic rallied from 12 points down to take a 68-67 lead on a 3-pointer by Pat Garrity with 11:10 remaining.
Redd responded with a shot from behind the arc before Gadzuric dunked, and Milwaukee never looked back.
"They were just finding me," Gadzuric said. "I was trying to find open space and they were getting me the ball. When Michael is making shots like he did tonight, it opens things up inside. It felt good. I did what I needed to do."
Having lost his starting job to Jamaal Magloire, Gadzuric made a compelling argument for more playing time when he scored all of Milwaukee's points in an 11-2 burst. He capped the run with an alley-oop dunk at the 5:01 mark that made it 89-75.
Gadzuric said he had no ill feelings toward Bucks coach Terry Stotts regarding his limited playing time.
"He's in a situation where he needs to do his job and he's trying to find minutes for everybody," Gadzuric said. "I'm always trying to be ready when they need me."
With forwards Bobby Simmons and Joe Smith both out with injuries, the Bucks needed Gadzuric on Saturday. They also got a lift from Toni Kukoc, who finished with 14 points and five assists.
"It's so huge," Redd said. "I keep telling Dan to stay focused. He wasn't playing a lot of minutes early in the season but he got a chance tonight. Toni (Kukoc) looked like he was 20 tonight. If we get a consistent effort from both of them every night, that's going to make it tough for other teams."
Kukoc scored 10 of his points in the second quarter, to help the Bucks build a 43-27 lead.
The Bucks, winners of three straight games, also got 12 points apiece from Magloire and Maurice Williams.
"We felt strongly from day one about the depth of this team," Stotts said. "With whatever happens with Joe and Bobby being out - and Michael was out two games before that - that's going to be a very important part of what we do not only now but throughout the year. We've been telling guys when it's time, be ready, and Dan was obviously ready tonight."
Dwight Howard scored 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson scored 20 points for the Magic, who have lost three straight games.
"They made a lot of shots tonight," said Nelson, who made his second straight start in Francis' absence. "They found Gadzuric and Michael Redd did his job of spotting up."