Magic Musings: Orlando roughs up Bucks in the paint
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Getting Nikola Vucevic back in their lineup the other night after a 12-game absence was a step in the right direction for the struggling Orlando Magic.
Getting the Milwaukee Bucks on their schedule after returning home was an even bigger break.
The Magic wasted little time establishing command against the only team in the NBA with a worse record than theirs and breezed to a 113-102 victory. They were ahead by 22 early in the second quarter and rolled up their highest point total in any half this season, punctuated by Arron Afflalo's 3-point field goal from the corner at the horn, in taking a 67-46 halftime lead.
Aside from Afflalo's 3-pointer, the Magic did the bulk of their scoring inside. They had 30 points in the paint by halftime after having only 22 such points all game Tuesday night in a loss at Detroit and 24 Wednesday night at Toronto.
Vucevic, playing in his first home game after suffering a concussion earlier this month, had all 12 of his points in the first half. He also finished with six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 25 minutes.
The Bucks, who allowed 126 points Wednesday night in losing to the Phoenix Suns, offered little resistance on defense to a team that had gone 2-14 in January. The Magic shot 51.8 percent from the floor, only the ninth time in 48 games that they made at least half of their field-goal attempts.
A 38-point fourth quarter by the Bucks made the final margin less one-sided.
Jameer Nelson did not play at all for the Magic after the first quarter because of a sore left knee. Ex-Buck Doron Lamb, who didn't get in during the first half, started at point guard in Nelson's absence to begin the third quarter.
Tobias Harris, who came over with Lamb from Milwaukee in a trade last February, had 18 points in his second game in a row coming off the bench.
THE TURNING POINT
Setting a season high for points in the first quarter, the Magic raced out to a 35-20 lead. Afflalo accounted for 14 of those points, six of which came from the free-throw line.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Afflalo, who was held under his 20-point average by both the Pistons and Raptors, had 21 before Vaughn gave him the entire fourth quarter off.
STAT OF THE GAME
Sunday at Boston, 1 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).