Magic-Bucks Preview

Publish date:

It's too late to push them into the playoffs but the Orlando Magic have been clicking offensively in their three consecutive victories.

The Magic will try to keep rolling while claiming a rare road win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Orlando (32-43) topped 110 points and shot at least 53 percent for the third straight game Thursday in a 114-94 rout of Indiana that ended a six-game road skid. The Magic have averaged 121.3 points on 56.3 percent shooting during their three-game overall run, 20.5 more than in their first 72 games.

Evan Fournier had 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Nikola Vucevic scored 24 while making 12 of 15 in his first action since March 4. Vucevic missed 13 games because of an injured groin.

"You don't want to quit and give up. That's not what you do as a competitor even though you're technically playing for nothing," Vucevic said. "We have to have pride as athletes and compete every night. I think we've been doing that."

Orlando will next seek to win four straight for the first time since its season-best five-game run Nov. 25-Dec. 3. The Magic will also try to top 110 points for the fourth game in a row for the first time since April 1995, and had a franchise-best nine-game streak in that same season.

They'll also try to record just their second victory over their last eight visits to Milwaukee. They lost 107-100 in their only other game there this season Jan. 26.

The Bucks (31-44) allowed an average of 109.7 points in the final three of five straight losses in March, a season high-tying skid that was snapped with a 105-94 victory against Phoenix on Wednesday.

Milwaukee forced 24 turnovers and limited the Suns to 20.8 percent shooting from 3-point range. The Bucks allowed Charlotte to make 16 of 29 shots from beyond the arc and forced just 10 turnovers in a 115-91 loss Saturday.

"The last two days we made a conscious effort to play 4-on-4, which is harder. You take a guy off the floor and be competitive, where now it's even harder to guard the 3-point line in a pick-and-roll situation," coach Jason Kidd said. "The guys did a really good job the last two days getting ready to guard the 3-point line.

"The league is going that way, and we have to get better at it."

The Magic have split two games against the Bucks this season, winning 114-90 at home Nov. 27. Elfrid Payton scored a team-best 22 points but was held to eight in the loss in Milwaukee.

The Bucks' Khris Middleton, who scored 26 points Wednesday, had 25 in the home win over Orlando. Giannis Antetokounmpo matched that output while making 12 of 16 shots, and the 6-foot-11 forward is currently preparing to serve as Milwaukee's primary ball handler for next season. He averaged 18.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 15 games in March.