NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 17th (All times Eastern)
Orlando Magic (18-48) at Milwaukee Bucks (32-32), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Bucks need to turn things around quickly so they aren't limping into the playoffs.
The Bucks have lost three straight, but will try to break the slide when they welcome the Orlando Magic to the Bradley Center Sunday afternoon.
No one is threatening Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are seven games ahead of the Toronto Raptors, but still could use some momentum heading into a probable series with the Miami Heat.
"Offensively, I think we have no problem," said forward Ersan Ilyasova. "We give up a lot of points. When we give up over 100 points, it's hard to win the game for us."
Ilyasova's point is valid. Milwaukee has surrendered over 100 points in four straight and eight of its last nine games. The Bucks have fallen to 20th in the NBA in points allowed.
The Bucks became the 21st consecutive victim for the Heat on Friday night. Milwaukee had played Miami tough all season coming into the contest, recording a 19-point win at home and an overtime loss in South Beach in two previous meetings.
On Friday, the Bucks got creamed in the middle two quarters to the tune of 58-41 and lost at home, 107-94.
"I think we still match up well against them," guard Brandon Jennings said. "We just had an off night [Friday]. I think we just beat ourselves [Friday]."
Ilyasova had a spectacular night with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Jennings added 21 points, but Monta Ellis, who had scored 20-plus points in nine straight games, only managed seven.
The Magic head to Milwaukee losers of two straight and seven of their last nine.
They started a four-game road trip with a 117-104 setback in Oklahoma City on Friday. Orlando cut a large deficit to seven points with a minute to go, but Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both hit critical threes late to give the Thunder the victory.
"We had great concentration in the second half," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "Their two stars hit two big threes that helped push the margin, but we didn't turn the ball over and that gave us a chance."
All five starters scored in double figures for the Magic, and they had plenty of time to do it. Moe Harkless, who had 12 points, was the only member of the first team who didn't play 40-plus minutes.
Jameer Nelson led the way with 26 points. Nikola Vucevic registered yet another double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Arron Afflalo chipped in 20 points. Tobias Harris netted 19 in the losing effort.
The Bucks beat the Magic, 107-98, in Milwaukee on Feb. 2 to snap a seven-game losing streak to Orlando. The Magic are 4-2 in their last six in Brew City.
03/17 10:26:43 ET