[Milwaukee, WI] Traveling to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks (12-14), the Orlando Magic (16-11) had to try to get the sour taste of defeat out of their mouths after last night’s OT loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
But a sour taste is something that Bucks fans – and the entire team, for that matter – are trying to avoid after comments made by their emerging star player Brandon Jennings earlier in the week.
Uh oh, trouble in cheese town?
“I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up,” said the 22-year-old Jennings. “I’m doing my homework on big market teams.”
Way to endear yourself to the fans, Brandon.
The Bucks have been blessed over the past decade-and-a-half with some pretty talented guards. With the likes of Ray Allen and Michael Redd – two top notch gentlemen of the game – they have never had to deal with such a prima donna getting waaaaay ahead of themselves.
Jennings, who skipped his senior year of high school to play professionally in Europe for a season, entered the 2009 NBA draft instead of attending a year of college. But so far, he has backed up his big mouth with big action, averaging 18.9 points and 5.3 assists this season. But could he keep it up tonight against the Magic?
Coming out of the gate strong, the Magic took an early 7-0 advantage, thanks to 5 quick points from “Mr. Convenient” himself, Ryan Anderson. But as quick as you could say Mbah a Moute, the Magic found themselves in an 11-7 hole, as the Bucks went on a little 11-0 run.
Orlando Magic players Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis sandwich Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova
Leading the way for the Bucks in the first was Mike Dunleavy, who had 8 points. At the end of the first quarter, the score was Milwaukee 21, Orlando 16.
Heading into the second, the Orlando Magic found themselves again in a hole, this one 5 points deep. And they would stay there for almost the entire quarter. Coming alive off the Magic bench was J.J. Redick, who decided to join the party and put up 10 points in the quarter and 12 for the half.
It was a back and forth affair with the Magic putting up 27 points to the Bucks 28 for the quarter. Something that we don’t see very often: Dwight Howard was outscored by Bucks big man (and former Magician) Drew Gooden, 5 to 8.
The score at the half: Milwaukee Bucks 49, Orlando Magic 43.
The second half started out with a bang as Orlando’s Jason Richardson came down and hit a three pointer putting the score at 46-49. And he was just getting started. After only scoring 3 points in the first half, someone decided to tell him he was on TV and in front of friends and family. He scored 16 points in the third quarter alone.
After going scoreless for nearly 21 minutes, Brandon “Big Mouth” Jennings decided to show up for the Bucks, albeit briefly. He put up a measly 5 points in the quarter, giving him 7 for the game. I guess no one told him that you actually have to play four quarters to get a max contract in the league (note: not completely true).
Ta da: Orlando Magic star of the night, J-Rich
After three, the score was Milwaukee 73, Orlando 72.
The fourth quarter was both ugly and a thing of beauty, all at once. It was really a tale of two halves, or of a quarter (which would just be two-eighths, but who’s counting?).
In the first six minutes the Magic were outscored 15-6, putting the Bucks up by 10, and the score at 88-78. But then J-Rich – the Magic’s savior as of late – stepped up and hit four three-pointers in the final 4:55, the last of the bunch giving the Magic a 94-88 lead.
And that’s all the Orlando Magic needed to pull of a tough win on the road. The final score was Orlando 99, Milwaukee 94.
Leading the way for the Magic was Jason Richardson with 31 points and 4 rebounds. D12 had a poor night, adding 11 points and 14 rebounds while Hedo Turkoglu came up big with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. The leading scorer off the Magic bench was Redick, who finished with 14.
The top point-getter for the Milwaukee Bucks was none other than Drew Gooden, recording 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists against the best defensive player in the league. He was actually impressive, but over the years he has never been able to deliver those kind of performances consistently.
The Orlando Magic play the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-15) next at home on Monday. The T-Wolves are greatly improved over last year, but still in need of some serious help. They are coming off a two point loss to the Knicks, so I expect this game to be close.
My Prediction: Orlando 97, Minnesota 91
Game Notes: Look for this game to come down to a battle of the big men: Kevin Love versus Dwight Howard. Whoever has the best night will likely lead their team to victory. After seeing early NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Kyrie Irving last week, we get our first look at the only man capable of challenging him, Ricky Rubio.
Rubio could potentially cause some match up problems for the Magic. Yes, I am talking about you Jameer Nelson.
PG – Minnesota
SG – Magic
SF – Magic
PF – Minnesota
C – Magic
Bench – Even
By: Mike Yesenko/Sunshine Slate
Lead photo: Orlando Magic