Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) is defended by Milwaukee Bucks forward Jae Crowder (99) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 7, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Kolczynski)

Magic Drop Second-Straight in Midst of Play-in Push

The Orlando Magic (26-37) dropped a second-straight game Tuesday night against the one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks (45-17).

This game followed a loss they suffered at the hands of the Portland Trailblazers (31-34). Orlando will look to right the ship as soon as possible, with the season winding into its final stages.

Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) goes to basket against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 7, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Kolczynski)

Game Trends

The Bucks entered this matchup scorching hot. Milwaukee came in as winners of 18 of their last 19. The last time these two teams played each other was March 1, when the Magic fell to the Bucks 134-117.

The Bucks got out to a fast start, building an early 10-point lead by the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was much more competitive, as the Magic were able to match the Bucks’ pace of play. Both teams matched each-others scoring totals in the second quarter, as both put 34 on the board.

Orlando entered halftime down 70-60.

The third quarter was nearly identical to the second, with both teams scoring 32.

The Magic were able to match the Bucks scoring, but the inability to get stops hindered the team from clawing back into this one.

As the fourth quarter started, Milwaukee still held its 10-point lead. The final frame was just as highly competitive as the previous two, but the Bucks were able to outscore the Magic by one.

Orlando fell 134-123, marking their second-straight loss.

Behind the Numbers

Magic guard Cole Anthony led the team in scoring with 23 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists.

Anthony has enjoyed playing the Bucks this season, as he has now dropped 20 points against them in back-to-back games.

Orlando forwards Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero were also heavy contributors on the offensive end. Wagner finished with 21, while Banchero finished with 20 in the losing effort.

Guard Markelle Fultz scored 16 and threw down two highlight-reel dunks.

Milwaukee was without its leading scorer, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bucks center Brook Lopez led the way on the offensive end in his absence. He poured in 26 points in addition to six rebounds and three blocks.

Milwaukee forward Khris Middleton and guard Jevon Carter contributed 24 points each, and Middleton secured the double-double by adding 11 assists.

Six different players, for both the Magic and Bucks respectively, scored in double-figures in this one.

The Magic shot 50% for the field, going an exact 50/100 on shot attempts.

The Bucks, on the other hand, had an extremely efficient night shooting the basketball, as they shot 59% on 78 shot attempts.

Looking Ahead

Following this loss, the Magic now sit in 13th place in the Eastern Conference and 4.5 games back of the play-in tournament.

Orlando is on pace for its best record of the past three seasons, however, and seem to be heading in the right direction.

The Magic will next be in action Thursday when they host the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m.

About Austin Stirling

Austin Stirling is a third-year journalism major with a sports media focus. He is aspiring for a career in sports media writing, production or sports content creation. Contact him at austinstirlingg@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @austinstirlingg

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