The Orlando Magic, who have gone 2-2 on their road trip thus far, will look to close it out on a high note when they take on the Bucks in Milwaukee Wednesday night.
These two teams have met twice this season. The Bucks defeated the Magic 96-85 in Milwaukee on December 4 behind 31 points and 18 rebounds from Andrew Bogut. Of course the Magic were without Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson due to the flu while Ryan Anderson was out with an ankle injury.
The Magic got revenge on the Bucks in Orlando on January 5 with a 97-87 victory. Dwight Howard led the way with 28 points an 13 rebounds.
The Bucks, who were the fifth seed in the east last year, are just 26-40 this year and are 2.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers for the eighth seed.
The Bucks are 25th in pace (92.3), last in offensive efficiency (98.3) and third in defensive efficiency (99.4).
The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
Tip off from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is scheduled for 8:00 pm EST.
The Line: Orlando – 5.5, 180.5u
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Drew Gooden (plantar fasciitis in left foot), Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) and Michael Redd (left knee surgery) are out indefinitely.
J.J. Redick had missed the last three games with a strained lower abdominal and is listed as questionable. He is not expected to play.
UPDATE: Per Joshua Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Andrew Bogut is out with a migraine.
The officials will be Monty McCutchen, Olandis Poole and Josh Tiven.
Of Note: The Bucks have lost two straight after previously winning four in a row, including a a 31-point loss to the Boston Celtics in which they scored just 56 points. Bucks head coach Scott Skiles spent five years with Orlando. Bucks players Corey Maggette, Keyon Dooling and Earl Boykins all spent time with the Orlando Magic. Dooling was originally drafted by the Magic but traded to the Clippers on draft night. Earl Boykins played just one game for the Magic, back in 2000. He scored six points and dished out three assists in eight minutes.
Opponent To Watch: Andrew Bogut had a 31-point, 18 rebound performance earlier this season, but that was against a Magic team playing without Dwight Howard. When Howard returned to the lineup, Bogut could only muster six points an six rebounds. Bogut has traditionally struggled against Howard and the Magic, averaging just 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in 14 career games against the Magic. The Bucks have to get a good night offensively out of Bogut to compete because they are the most offensively challenged team in the NBA.
What To Watch For: The Magic have been extremely inconsistent and have had problems defending the perimeter. The Magic defense, which has had good stretches and are still fourth in defensive efficiency, shouldn’t have a lot of problems Wednesday night. The Bucks are the least efficient offensive team in the league. However, they do have scorers (Maggette, John Salmons, Brandon Jennings) on the perimeter. Their defense, which ranks third in efficiency, is the key to victory so the Magic offense, which is very stagnant outside of Howard at times, is going to be challenged.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).
Tags: Andrew Bogut Brandon Bass Brandon Jennings Chris Duhon Corey Maggettee Dwight Howard Earl Boykins Earl Clark Gilbert Arenas Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson John Salmons Keyon Dooling Orlando Magic Ryan Anderson Scott Skiles Stan Van Gundy