Magic Hold Off Bucks in Home Regular Season Finale

No Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, and Aaron Gordon?

No problem.

Playing without their two best players and an additional rising star, the Orlando Magic cruised to a 107-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in their home finale.

While the Magic (35-46) will be missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year, the team ended their home regular season on a high note. The win caps a home season where the Magic finished 23-18 at the Amway Center, the first time the team finished above 20 wins at home since 2012.

Magic forward Ersan Ilyasova led the way with 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting against his former team. Magic head coach Scott Skiles says a few easy buckets was all Ilyasova needed to find his stroke. 

“Ersan hasn’t changed,” said Jason Kidd, Milwaukee head coach. “That’s who he is. He’s a warrior. He’s a competitor. He’s a winner. He made plays on both ends.”

The Magic sprinted to a 58-44 halftime lead behind a hot start from 12 first-quarter points from center DeWayne Dedmon. Point guard Elfrid Payton says he doesn’t need much help from his teammates to find his rhythm. 

Ilyasova opened the second-half with a baseline jumper to get things going. Ilyasova would go on to score 10 of his 22 points in the third quarter. The Magic entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 85-73 lead.

After three made free throws by Khris Middleton, the Bucks were about to cut it to a 100-96 deficit with just over three minutes remaining.

But two possessions later, rookie Mario Hezonja answered with a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Magic some breathing room and extend the lead 103-96. Hezonja tallied 19 points (on 7-for-11 shooting), with seven rebounds and five steals.

Milwaukee had a chance to take it down the wire but they turned the ball over twice and missed badly an easy alley-oop in the final two minutes to seal their fate.

Six Magic players finished in double-figures, including all five starters.

Up next, the Magic hope to end the season on an even higher note when they travel to take on the Charlotte Hornets (47-34) in their regular-season finale.

Ryan Nelson contributed to this report.

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