Balanced Magic come from behind AGAIN to beat Bucks
The Magic aren’t tired of playing the Milwaukee Bucks just quite yet. Three games in ten days can be a tough no matter who you are playing, but as long as you come away with three wins, then all is well. The even more impressive feat, is that the Magic trailed in all three games late and came from behind to earn each win.
The Magic were led by a huge night from Dwight Howard who scored 28 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and most importantly went 10-14 from the free throw line. The Bucks were successful early in frustrating Dwight with aggressive, and sometimes floppy play, but the big man did a great job of not losing his composure and bringing his A game.
Five players scored in double figures for the Magic on the evening, with Jameer Nelson putting up 15 and Hedo Turkoglu scoring 13. The Magic improved to 13-2 on the season when 5 or more players score in double figures.
Quentin Richardson was injured early and didn’t return and Jason Richardson was still sidelined with chest pains which left Orlando suddenly shorthanded. J.J. Redick stepped in to the starting lineup -scoring 11 points in 35 minutes and rookie DeAndre Liggins made his NBA debut replacing Q-Rich.
For Liggins, it was a very proud 3 point, 2 rebound performance. DeAndre’s tough path to the NBA and rough childhood have been well chronicled and you could see the joy on his teammates faces when he came into the game. It was just a 10 minute display, but he showed the defensive tenacity that helped him make the team. If Q is forced to miss any extended time, at least Stan knows that there will likely not be a defensive lapse.
So here we sit at the halfway mark of the shortened season and the Magic record is right what we expected, 21-12. They have for the most part beaten the teams they should beat and pulled off a few upsets against teams they aren’t expected to beat. Dwight is still here and you can see recent improvements from Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson and even the more consistent Ryan Anderson.
The Magic have two more games before the All-Star break; Wednesday at New Jersey and Thursday night against the Hawks in Atlanta. In this shortened, Dwight-drama filled season, the momentum of closing out the game with a 3-game winning streak would be huge. They did their part tonight.