Magic Beat Bucks Without Gordon, Oladipo, or Vucevic

By on April 11, 2016

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and Greg Monroe (15) watch as Orlando Magic center Dewayne Dedmon (3) drives during the second half.. (phhoto Reinhold Matay / USA TODAY Sports)

Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and Greg Monroe (15) watch as Orlando Magic center Dewayne Dedmon (3) drives during the second half.. (photo Reinhold Matay / USA TODAY Sports)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Magic won a gritty one in their final home game of the season, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-98. Playing without three starters, and arguably their best players, Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, and Nicola Vucevic, the Magic rallied behind a strong performance from their fill-ins.

Orlando scored the first points of the game and never looked back, leading by as much as 20 and never trailing in the contest. Center Dwayne Dedmon, usually a defensive specialist, scored 17 points on the night including 12 in the first quarter in a fill-in start for Nikola Vucevic. For the Magic, scoring came from the unlikeliest of places – as rookie Mario Hezonja, and recently slumping forward Ersan Ilyasova combined for 41 points to lead the team.

“I just think what happened to [Ersan] was that he got two or three easy layups,” said Magic coach Scott Skiles “and that always, if you’re struggling with your perimeter shot, [helps if] you can get a couple of easy ones.”

Carless turnovers for the Bucks led to easy Magic buckets, as Orlando recorded a season-high 19 steals. They turned 23 Milwaukee turnovers into 23 points, leading to such a large lead in the third quarter.

This lead was almost squandered, however, as the Bucks cut it to four points on two different occasions in the fourth. The Magic offense stalled to the tune of 30% shooting, scoring only 22 points as they struggled to close out the game.

Dewayne Dedmon (3) drives. (photo  Reinhold Matay / USA TODAY Sports)

Dewayne Dedmon (3) drives. (photo Reinhold Matay / USA TODAY Sports)

Mario Hezonja, the lone bright spot in the fourth quarter, had several key plays to keep the Magic afloat. He scored eight points in the period, including two clutch threes as the Bucks gained momentum. The Croatian swingman also hit two crucial free throws, sinking both attempts of a one-and-one to put the Magic up seven with just over a minute left in the game.

“We didn’t think [Mario] would hesitate,” said Magic coach Scott Skiles, “…I thought he was very solid defensively and had a good offensive game as well”.

This win may not count for anything but pride, but it signaled the end of an era for the Magic faithful. This season finale win came on fan appreciation night, and it gave Magic fans a sign that better days are ahead.

“We’re going the right way,” said point guard Elfrid Payton, I honestly thought everyone in this locker room got better over the summer and I expect the same thing next year.”

This season will be a minimum of a 10-game improvement over last year, but the year still leaves something to be desired. After a late December run that saw the magic at 19-13 and fourth in the Eastern Conference, they then went 2-15, essentially dashing hopes of a playoff bid.

“Looking at the beginning of the season, it’s kind of frustrating because we were the best team in the East in December,” said swingman Evan Fournier, “…if we want to be an elite team, we have to be more consistent.”

With a glut of cap space this offseason, the days of losing seem to be coming to a close in Orlando. As the team looks to add at least one major free agent, with eyes on two, it appears that the franchise of Shaq and Penny is on the rise again.

The Orlando Magic (35-46) have one final game this season, and it will be on the road against the current six seed, the Charlotte Hornets (47-34) on Wednesday. It will be a reunion of sorts for Team France teammates Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier, as the Magic look to play spoiler to the favored Hornets.

Bucks
STARTERS MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
J. ParkerPF 37 8-17 0-2 1-2 1 2 3 1 0 0 3 1 -8 17
G. AntetokounmpoSF 37 5-7 1-2 0-2 2 7 9 3 1 3 5 5 -14 11
G. MonroeC 27 9-15 0-0 5-6 4 3 7 2 3 1 2 2 -12 23
K. MiddletonSG 35 6-11 0-2 5-5 0 5 5 7 2 0 6 2 -15 17
R. VaughnSG 28 1-6 0-4 1-2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 -9 3
BENCH MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
J. HensonPF 15 2-5 0-0 1-2 1 2 3 0 0 0 2 2 +2 5
M. PlumleeC 21 2-4 0-0 0-0 4 9 13 0 0 2 0 0 +3 4
T. EnnisPG 24 5-6 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 0 3 3 +4 10
G. VasquezPG 17 3-7 2-5 0-0 1 2 3 3 0 0 2 3 +4 8
J. O’Bryant IIIPF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
D. InglisSF DNP-COACH’S DECISION
J. BaylessPG DNP-COACH’S DECISION
TEAM 41-78 3-15 13-19 13 32 45 18 6 7 23 20 98
52.6% 20.0% 68.4%

Magic

STARTERS MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
E. IlyasovaPF 37 10-13 2-2 0-0 3 3 6 1 1 3 0 3 +13 22
D. DedmonC 19 6-11 0-0 5-6 3 5 8 0 3 3 0 4 +16 17
E. PaytonPG 31 3-8 0-2 5-10 0 3 3 11 3 0 4 1 +22 11
E. FournierSG 38 5-13 1-6 2-2 1 4 5 4 1 0 2 0 +21 13
M. HezonjaSG 39 7-11 3-6 2-2 1 2 3 7 5 0 2 2 +8 19
BENCH MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
A. NicholsonPF 11 0-5 0-3 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 2 -4 0
J. SmithPF 29 4-11 0-1 2-2 1 5 6 1 4 4 0 1 -7 10
D. MarbleSF 19 3-8 1-3 2-6 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 -11 9
C.J. WatsonPG 17 3-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 3 1 0 1 1 -13 6
N. VucevicC DNP-COACH’S DECISION
S. NapierPG DNP-COACH’S DECISION
B. JenningsPG DNP-COACH’S DECISION
V. OladipoSG DNP-CONCUSSION
TEAM 41-84 7-23 18-28 12 24 36 28 19 10 10 15 107
48.8% 30.4% 64.3%
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