Orlando 117, Milwaukee 94

MILWAUKEE, April 9 (AP) -- Once Dwight Howard's dunks had disassembled the Milwaukee Bucks' patchwork defense, the Orlando Magic had room to roam outside.

Orlando equaled its hottest shooting performance of the season on Monday night, hitting 62.5 percent from the floor in a 117-94 victory over Milwaukee.

Hedo Turkoglu scored 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting for the Magic, who are trying to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"Getting ready for the playoffs, you've got to have guys on the perimeter that knock down those shots,'' Howard said.

It was the best shooting performance allowed all season by the Bucks, who said before the game that leading scorer Michael Redd would sit out the remainder of the season with a nagging left knee injury.

"When a team's dunking on you, it tends to take the air out of your sails,'' Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said.

Howard hit a hook shot to begin the game, then unleashed a first-half flurry of slam dunks - including three alley-oop dunks in the final three minutes.

"They're undermanned and shorthanded, especially with size,'' Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "We knew to start the game that was the direction we had to go.''

The injury-riddled Bucks - who have been playing without injured center Andrew Bogut and power forward Charlie Villanueva since March 21 - didn't have a defensive answer for Howard, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

After lanky 6-foot-11 center Dan Gadzuric, the next-tallest player in the Bucks' depleted starting lineup was 6-5 forward Ruben Patterson, who often was left trying to stop Howard.

Orlando outscored Milwaukee 68-30 in the paint.

"It was extremely difficult,'' Bucks guard Charlie Bell said. "It'd probably be better if we had more bodies out there.''

Howard's dominant first half inside freed Turkoglu on the perimeter, allowing him to turn in another high-scoring performance less than a week after scoring a career-high 37 points in Orlando's April 4 loss to Toronto.

The Magic took control in the third quarter as Darko Milicic took advantage of a lax Bucks defense to score on a windmill slam dunk off an inbounds pass from Turkoglu, putting the Magic ahead 75-62 with 3:43 remaining.

Turkoglu then hit a long two-pointer as the shot clock expired on the Magic's next possession, putting Orlando ahead 79-63. Orlando ended the quarter with a 7-2 run to take an 88-67 lead into the fourth quarter.

"Our starters tonight in the third quarter, that was one of their better quarters of the entire year,'' Hill said.

Trevor Ariza added 16 points for Orlando.

Milwaukee clearly missed Redd, who missed three of the Bucks' previous five games because of soreness in his knee and apparently aggravated the injury in Milwaukee's loss to New York on Saturday night.

Krystkowiak said he left the decision to sit Redd for the rest of the season up to the team's training staff.

"It's been one of those years where if anybody's not able to play, it's not really surprising,'' Krystkowiak said.

Redd also missed 20 games earlier this season with a strained left patellar tendon. The Bucks are 4-20 in games without Redd.

Milwaukee also has been without projected starting forward Bobby Simmons all season. Bucks forward Brian Skinner also sat out the game with continued vertigo-like symptoms from an inner ear infection.

"It's a weird time mentally, because you're so wired to compete and win,'' Krystkowiak said. "And certainly, losing is not acceptable at this point. But our roster is so decimated right now that you have to stay somewhat realistic.''

Notes: Orlando also shot 62.5 percent in a Feb. 2 victory over New Jersey. ... Former Marquette star Travis Diener was inactive for Orlando on Monday. ... The Magic shot 65 percent from the field and only 50 percent from the free-throw line in the first half. ... Redd averaged 26.7 points per game this season, the highest scoring average for a Bucks player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 30 points during the 1974-75 season.

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