National Basketball Association
Bucks-Magic Preview
National Basketball Association

Bucks-Magic Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:01 p.m. ET

The Orlando Magic don't want to lose another home finale and may be facing the right opponent to close out their season at Amway Arena with a victory.

The Magic have taken 18 of their last 19 home games against the Milwaukee Bucks, although they may again be without Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon in Monday night's matchup.

Orlando (34-46) is closing out a fourth straight season out of the playoffs, and the first three have seen the club lose its home finale. The Magic have won seven of their last 10 at home.

"It's going to be a very important game for us," said guard Evan Fournier, who is averaging 22.5 points over his last four games. "The last game of the season at home, that's going to be hard because it's on a back-to-back, I think everybody's banged up at that point but no excuses, we're going to play as hard as we can and try to win that last game at home."


Orlando's 18-1 run at home in this series spans 11 seasons, with the lone defeat a 115-100 loss Jan. 29, 2015. The home team has taken all three matchups this season, with the Magic cruising to a 114-90 rout Nov. 27.

Neither Oladipo nor Gordon traveled for Sunday's 118-96 loss at Miami due to concussions. Their status for the final two games is unclear, with Gordon missing the last two and Oladipo suffering the injury in Friday's 112-109 win over the Heat.

Rookie Mario Hezonja started in Oladipo's place Sunday and scored 10 points. Gordon's place in the lineup has been filled by former Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova.

Orlando is 5-13 in the second game of back-to-back sets while Milwaukee has fared better at 8-11.

The Bucks (33-47) got a boost Sunday with the return of Khris Middleton from a three-game absence for rest as he matched a career high with 36 points in a 109-108 overtime win over Philadelphia that snapped a three-game slide.

''I felt good, I was able to get into a good rhythm,'' Middleton said.

Milwaukee blew a 17-point halftime lead before surviving when Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked a late shot attempt from Hollis Thompson. Antetokounmpo made 4 of 15 shots for 14 points after averaging 27.7 on 61.5 percent shooting in his previous three games.

The inconsistent John Henson recorded his third double-double with 18 points and 10 boards, with the 59.3 percent foul shooter making all six attempts. He hasn't been a factor against the Magic with a total of 12 points and nine rebounds in the season series.

"When you look at the way he plays like that, defensively we're one of the best, and then on offense, when he's able to finish plays, again shooting his free throws well, that's what we needed," coach Jason Kidd said.

The Magic can tie the all-time regular-season series between these teams at 50 wins apiece.


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