Magic’s Defense Falters in Loss to Bucks

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Cole Anthony led six Orlando players in double figures with 23 points, Franz Wagner scored 21, and Paolo Banchero had 20, but the Orlando Magic struggled to contain the Milwaukee Bucks in Tuesday’s 134-123 loss at Amway Center.

Key Stretch

The Bucks went into halftime with momentum after outscoring the Magic 7-2 over the final two minutes and change of the second quarter. Joe Ingles buried a 3-pointer to start that run; Brook Lopez scored from the mid-range; and Jevon Carter beat the intermission buzzer with a pull-up jumper to extend Milwaukee’s lead to 10. 

Key Stats

The Bucks took 15 more free throws than the Magic and only missed two of their 34 attempts from the stripe. For the ninth time in their last 15 games, the Magic made fewer than 10 3-pointers, going 9-for-30 from beyond the arc on Tuesday.  

Quote of the Day

“I think we're just fouling too much. I think that if we don’t foul as much, we can be a little bit more aggressive, we can get out a little bit more, and run a little bit more. I think we’re playing solid for the most part but then we foul a lot of times.” - Franz Wagner

Injury Report

Wendell Carter Jr. (left hip soreness), Gary Harris (left adductor soreness), Admiral Schofield (concussion), and Jonathan Isaac (torn left adductor) were out for the Magic. Giannis Antetokounmpo (illness), Jrue Holiday (neck), Goran Dragic (knee), and Wesley Matthews (calf) were unavailable for the Bucks. 

In the News

Tuesday marked the first time the Lakeland Magic played a game at Amway Center. They went up against Milwaukee’s G League team, the Wisconsin Herd, earlier in the day and pulled out a victory behind 27 points from two-way contract player Kevon Harris and 24 from Jay Scrubb. MarJon Beauchamp, the 24th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, led the Herd with 24 points. 

This Day in History

One of the Magic’s most memorable regular season games from the Dwight Howard/Stan Van Gundy era occurred on March 7, 2010 against the Los Angeles Lakers at the old Amway Arena in a rematch of the prior season’s NBA Finals. Vince Carter led Orlando with 25 points and Howard had 15 points and 16 rebounds in a Magic victory. Kobe Bryant led L.A. with 34 points. 

Rivals Report

The Bucks currently sit in first place in the East. Since the start of the calendar year, they have the NBA’s No. 1 defense. Neither of those things are a surprise considering they have the league’s most dominant two-way player in Antetokounmpo. But being in this position despite Khris Middleton only playing in 22 games so far and averaging under 14 points is noteworthy. One would assume – particularly in a seven-game series against Boston and/or Philadelphia – that Milwaukee will need Middleton to be at least close to his normal self in the playoffs. 

Up Next

The Magic’s third of four games on this homestand will be against the Utah Jazz on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Jazz squeaked out a victory in their meeting on Jan. 13 in Salt Lake City. Lauri Markkanen posted 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz and Jordan Clarkson, who hit the go-ahead shot with 32 seconds remaining, had 23 points and 12 rebounds. Franz Wagner led Orlando with 26 points, while Banchero and Carter each scored 19.