For the first 42 minutes of Friday’s game in Orlando, the Bucks were in control of the Magic. Playing without Drew Gooden due to a sprained right wrist and knee soreness, Milwaukee’s group of undersized forwards did enough on All-Star center Dwight Howard to keep the Bucks in the lead since the early minutes of the game.
However, Milwaukee did not score a single point over the final 5:56 as the Magic went on a 17-0 run to close out the game, beating the Bucks, 94-85.
“We were having a pretty good game,” coach Scott Skiles said on the “Bucks Live” post-game show on FOX Sports Wisconsin. “(Then) there were plays (at the end of the game) that you can’t make. Guys played hard tonight, we just couldn’t find anybody to step up and make a couple of big offensive plays once they got rolling. Instead of that, we kind of made mistakes, kind of turned it over, took some bad shots and they took it from us.”
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After winning back-to-back road games at Cleveland and at Toronto, Milwaukee has now lost four in a row.
The Bucks were in front ever since taking a 6-5 lead early in the game, and took a 12-point lead into the second quarter. But a Hedo Turkoglu fadeaway shot at the 4:50 mark of the fourth quarter put Orlando ahead and the Magic led the rest of the way.
Shaun Livingston made a layup to put Milwaukee ahead, 85-77, with just less than six minutes remaining. Throughout the rest of the game, the Bucks shot 0 of 11 from the field, with Brandon Jennings going 0-of-5 with one turnover during that stretch.
“We were still competing at the end, we just didn’t make wise plays,” Skiles said. “You can’t just come down the floor and turn it over. There were just a bunch of plays that are difficult to overcome.”
Skiles described the team’s shot selection late in the game as “not great,” but added that “we took similar shots most of the night.”
Howard led the Magic with 26 points and 20 rebounds as Skiles continued to try different defenders on him, including Jon Brockman, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and rookie Jon Leuer.
“It was an eye-opening experience for Jon Leuer, I know that,” Skiles said. “Larry battled him, Brock battled him. I felt like they did the best they could.”
The Bucks have been playing without a true center since Andrew Bogut fractured his ankle on Jan. 25. Gooden had been playing most of those minutes, but his injury left Skiles with few desirable options.
“He’s a handful to deal with,” Brockman said of Howard during the “Bucks Live” broadcast. “Once he catches it low, there’s nothing really anyone can do, especially me. I’m not going to be able to jump up and block it, so I was just trying to beat him to the spot, be a little bit of a pest.”
Milwaukee had four players score in double digits, led by Carlos Delfino with 16 points. Ilyasova led the team with 10 rebounds while scoring 14 points and blocking two shots.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who had been in the starting lineup most of the season, did not play due to a coach’s decision.
Skiles may have to deal with another injury, too, as rookie Tobias Harris left the game in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a shoulder injury,” Harris said. “It’s a sprain. I don’t know a timetable, but I’m going to try to get back out there as fast as I can.”
The Bucks play the Nets in New Jersey on Sunday night before returning back to Milwaukee on Monday to face the Magic for the third time in nine days.