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Turkoglu, defense leads struggling Magic

Mar 6, 2007 - 4:42 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Hedu Turkoglu and a stingy defense stopped the Orlando Magic's bleeding for at least one night.

Turkoglu scored a season-high 25 points and the Magic held the Milwaukee Bucks to 10 points in the first quarter en route to a 99-81 victory.

Trevor Ariza scored 20 points and Dwight Howard added 10 and nine rebounds for Orlando (29-33), which snapped a three-game losing streak to move into a tie with New Jersey (28-32) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I think we were down. We lost a lot of games in this little stretch we just had and we really needed a win," Howard said. "Our main goal was to make sure we took care of ourselves tonight, play team basketball, pass the ball and play good defense.

"There's 20 games left, the finish line is in sight. We got to give it an all out sprint. Forget about what our record is and just try to push. That's what we have to do for the rest of the season and that's what we did last year."

Losers of 19 of their previous 24 games, the Magic came with some defensive intensity, holding the Bucks to 35 percent (19-of-54) shooting from the field.

"We came out a little sluggish, and give Orlando credit they are a good defensive team," Milwaukee coach Terry Stotts said. "But I think (with) the overtime loss last night, emotionally and physically we were probably a little spent. We didn't shoot the ball well. When you score 10 points in the first quarter, we dug ourselves a whole early and we couldn't get out."

Orlando completely shut down star guard Michael Redd. Coming off a 52-point overtime performance in a 126-121 loss to Chicago on Sunday, Redd made just 3-of-16 shots and finished with 15 points.

"I take pride in playing defense," said Keith Bogans, who had the assignment to guard Redd. "I like to play defense. I almost take it personally when a guy scores on me. Every possesion I want to bump him, push him a little bit. When I do foul him, I want to make sure I foul him hard and it's not an easy foul. Just make him play hard.

"Playing back-to-back is tough. I know he's probably tired. That's another reason I wanted to stay in his face. Keep contact with him, keep leaning on him, pushing him. Coming off the back-to-backs, and the travel it's hard."

Orlando held Milwaukee to 4-of-15 shooting in the first quarter, jumping to a 20-10 lead - the fewest points the Magic have allowed in a period this season. Turkoglu had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the second quarter as the Magic stretched the advantage to 49-34.

"This is the third game in a row for Hedo that when he really concentrates on attacking more off the dribble, he is that much more effective," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "It opens up his all around game and he did the same thing tonight."

In his last three games, the Turkish sharpshooter has connected on 25-of-36 shots.

Turkoglu added a layup, jumper and a shot from the arc in the first 2:15 of the third quarter to stetch the lead to 58-34. After the Bucks scored six straight points, his 3-pointer with 7:05 left rebuilt a 60-41 lead.

"He's a talented offensive player," Stotts said. "He can post up smaller guys, he can shoot threes ... I'm surprised to be honest that 25 is his season high, but he did that in 28 minutes too."

Orlando stretched the lead to as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter.

Turkoglu finished 10-of-14 from the floor and added nine rebounds.

"That's a good W. I'm just happy that I played good and we just won the game," Turkoglu said. "I knew my shot was going to come. I just need to stick with it and stay active and not settle on one thing. Maybe because I'm a good shooter I rely too much on the jumper and know I try to take it to the hole and make some jumper and just really be active all around."

Ruben Patterson scored 14 points for the Bucks, who have lost two straight after winning three in a row.

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