Magic-Bucks Game Final Regular Season Contest Ever at BMO Harris Bradley Center

by John Denton

MILWAUKEE – With the Milwaukee Bucks scheduled to move into the $524 million Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center next fall, Monday’s game involving the Orlando Magic proved to be the final regular-season game ever at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Forgive the Magic if they aren’t exactly sentimental and sad in seeing the 30-year-old facility go by the wayside.

The Magic entered Monday night just 15-37 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which opened on Nov. 5, 1988. That poor record included a four-game losing streak coming into Monday, one that has seen Orlando go winless in Milwaukee since April 4, 2015.

Magic coach Frank Vogel has been in the NBA since 1996 and many of his memories of the Bradley Center came away from the court. Nine of those seasons came while Vogel worked for the Indiana Pacers, meaning his teams played in Milwaukee twice a year as a Central Division rival of the Bucks.

``I remember coming here as a video coordinator (with the Boston Celtics), rolling all of that video equipment in to the small locker room before they opened up the bigger part of the locker room,’’ Vogel remembered. ``They used to have us in that one tiny locker room in the back. And the first thing that comes to my mind (as a Bradley Center memory) was Dee Brown and Rick Pitino getting in a fight back there. Not a fight, but a little flare up. I’m showing my age.’’

Orlando lost its first nine games at the Bradley Center from 1989-93, but then won six of the next eight games in Milwaukee behind the exploits of Magic Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and Nick Anderson. The Magic went through another drought in Milwaukee from 1998-07, losing 15 of 16 games at one point. During that timeframe, Orlando also lost two postseason games at the Bradley Center in the first round of the 2001 NBA playoffs.

One of the Magic’s most dominant stretches in Milwaukee came from April of 2007 to April of 2012 when they went 7-3.

The Bucks’ new state-of-the-art facility is a public/private partnership and it will be located next to the BMO Harris Bradley Center. It will seat 17,500 for basketball and 18,000 for concerts and will feature a 10,000-seat lower bowl.

ROSS RESTING: A night after playing for the first time in 4 ½ months, Magic guard Terrence Ross was held out of action on Monday in Milwaukee. The move was merely a precautionary one as the team didn’t want Ross playing in consecutive games on back-to-back nights while still working himself back into shape.

Ross sprained the MCL in his right knee and fractured the tibial plateau in his right leg on Nov. 29 after colliding at the rim with Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook. That injury kept him out of the next 57 games, but Ross never quit working and kept his focus affixed on a return this season.

He was cleared for a return on Sunday in Toronto and he scored three points and handed out two assists in 10 minutes of action. Ross said that it was important for him to return this season so that he can understand fully where he is in the rehab and recovery process. He said his knee is structurally sound and he hopes to use the offseason to try and grow his game immensely.

``I wanted to kind of see where I’m at and know that I’m healthy and good,’’ said Ross, who has been limited to just 23 games this season because of the knee injury. ``Going into the summer, it’s good to know that I’m healthy and there’s nothing wrong with me.’’

There’s a chance that Ross could play limited minutes on Wednesday when the Magic close the regular season against the Washington Wizards.

IRONMAN BIYOMBO: If Magic center Bismack Biyombo plays in Wednesday’s finale as expected, he will become the only Magic player to appear in all 82 games this season.

Avoiding injury and being available for every game is something of a rarity this season for a Magic team that has used 26 different starting lineups and has lost more than 200 player games to injuries.

Biyombo is hoping to appear in all 82 games for a second time in his career. He played in 81 games last season, missing only the season-opener because of a NBA-mandated suspension that had carried over from the previous season’s playoffs.

``To me, it’s just about coming into every season with a mindset of grinding through every game and facing the ups and downs,’’ Biyombo said. ``You have to understand that you are going to go through good days and have bad days, but you have to manage and find a way. So (playing in every game) has been my goal.

``Unfortunately, the season is not going the way we all expected,’’ Biyombo continued. ``To me, I’ve always come into a season making sure I take care of my body. We all get hurt at some point, but for me it’s about how can I play through my injuries if I can. It helps me mentally and physically. Throughout this season we faced ups and downs – more downs than the ups – but through everything there was always a lesson to be learned.’’

UP NEXT: Orlando’s sixth straight non-playoff season mercifully comes to an end on Wednesday when it hosts the Washington Wizards at the Amway Center. Tipoff is just after 7 p.m.

The Wizards have won all three meetings this season and the Magic will be trying to prevent a season sweep to Washington. The Wizards have swept the season series from Orlando three of the last four years.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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