Magic-Bucks Preview

BY foxsports • January 26, 2016

Jason Kidd brought something interesting to his first practice back on the eve of the coach's return for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Scott Skiles is returning to Milwaukee with his Orlando Magic mired in their longest losing streak.

Kidd will coach the Bucks for the first time in 18 games as they face the Magic and Skiles, who returns to the city for the first time since he resigned as Milwaukee coach three seasons ago.

Milwaukee (19-27) will welcome back Kidd from his absence due to hip replacement surgery. He brought part of the metal prosthesis inserted into his hip for the procedure to Monday's practice, making a point to his youthful club how much he sacrificed during a 19-year career.

"Hip replacement wasn't due to age, it was due to what I did on the court," Kidd said. "And so sometimes you don't understand, as a young player, if you are going to sacrifice a body part for wins or to be able to play the game at the highest level, are you willing to do that?

"So for them to see that piece of metal that went into my body, it was eye opening because it wasn't just a little piece."

The Bucks went 8-9 in Kidd's absence with Joe Prunty serving as interim coach.

Kidd won't be the only coach drawing attention because Skiles will be back after he guided the Bucks for four-plus seasons between 2008-13. Skiles posted a 162-182 record with Milwaukee with one playoff appearance.

Both clubs are looking for answers, although Orlando (20-23) figures to be the more frustrated club thanks to a six-game slide that includes three overtime defeats. The Magic went past regulation for the second straight game in Monday's 108-102 loss at Memphis, blowing a four-point lead with 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

''It's very disappointing for us,'' forward Tobias Harris said. ''Two games we felt we had the game in our hands and let it slip away.''

Harris was one of three Orlando players to score 16 along with Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic. Victor Oladipo made 1 of 10 shots for five points after averaging 22.6 in his previous five games.

The Magic allowed a season-high 70 points in the paint. That's a concern against a Bucks team averaging 49.0 points in that department to rank among the NBA's leaders.

Milwaukee is seeking a fourth straight home win and hoping to improve its 3-point defense after conceding a total of 32 in consecutive losses.

''We're not a 3-point shooting team. When we give up the 3, the advantage is not in our favor,'' guard Michael Carter-Williams said.

Milwaukee's Khris Middleton is averaging 23.3 points in his last six games.

While Kidd has preached patience with his young club, Skiles is growing worried about his team's propensity for late-game failures.

"I'm concerned about why we cover things in a shootaround and then cover them again while the game is going on and then while live play is actually happening for whatever reason mentally we're not doing what we're supposed to do so that's the most concerning thing," Skiles said.

The Magic won the first meeting this season, 114-90 on Nov. 27. Elfrid Payton had 22 points and 10 assists.

Orlando is 2-5 in the second half of back-to-back games.

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