Magic Fight Until the End, But Fall Short to Bucks

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Franz Wagner posted 25 points, Paolo Banchero filled up the box score with 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and Markelle Fultz scored a season-best 20 points, but despite a valiant effort, the Orlando Magic came up short to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in Monday’s 109-102 loss at Amway Center. 

Clutch Moments

Sandro Mamukelashvili drilled a 3-pointer with 3:13 remaining in the fourth quarter to extend Milwaukee’s to nine. A pair of Moe Wagner free throws and a Terrence Ross 3-pointer pulled Orlando within four shortly after. Antetokounmpo, who finished with 34 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, made a driving layup and three free throws in the final couple minutes to help seal the Bucks’ win. 

Interesting Note

Before Monday, the last time Fultz had scored 20-plus points was on Dec. 27, 2020 against the Washington Wizards. On Jan. 6 of that season was when he tore his ACL in his left knee.  

Key Stats

The Magic hung in there with the mighty Bucks largely because they were aggressive attacking the basket and relentless on the glass. They finished with 46 paint points, eight more than the Bucks, and 52 rebounds, seven more than Milwaukee. The key advantages for the Bucks were fast break points (20) and the fact that they made five more threes than Orlando. 

Quote of the Day

“It’s a lot of fun. Our pace is a lot higher when he’s out there on the court. He’s really good at getting us into early actions. Obviously, he attacks the rim really well, and he tries to get everybody involved. Overall, I think that offensively we are a lot sharper and on defense, I think he’s done an incredible job so far guarding the pick-and-roll and guarding the main ball handlers on other teams.” - Franz Wagner on developing chemistry with Fultz

Injury Report

Gary Harris (right hamstring soreness), Mo Bamba (back spasms), Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia strain), Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were out for the Magic. Brook Lopez (rest), Joe Ingles (knee), Serge Ibaka (illness), and Grayson Allen (foot) were unavailable for the Bucks.

This Day in History

On Dec. 5, 2000, Tracy McGrady recorded 29 points and John Amaechi and Michael Doleac each scored 16 points as the Magic topped the Boston Celtics. Antoine Walker missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer right before the final buzzer. Walker led Boston with 26 points, while Paul Pierce scored 23 points. 

Rivals Report

We’ll soon find out just how good the Bucks are fully healthy. Khris Middleton made his season debut last week after having left wrist injury during the offseason; Jrue Holiday has missed several games, as has Antetokounmpo. The Bucks, even shorthanded, have been one of the league’s best defensive teams, which they’ve been each of the last several years. Maybe the best story in Milwaukee has been the play of Lopez, now 34 years old and still making a huge impact. He leads the league in blocks and is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range. 

Up Next

The Magic’s five-game homestand continues Wednesday when they host the Los Angeles Clippers at 7 p.m. The Clippers are one team that’s not going to feel sorry playing against an undermanned Magic squad. They have been without their two superstars – Kawhi Leonard and Paul George – the last several games. Leonard has only appeared in five games this season thus far. Still, L.A. is above .500 mostly because of its defense. They had the league’s sixth-best defensive rating entering Monday’s action.