Lewis, Turkoglu lead Magic over BucksNov 25, 2008 - 5:00 AM By Ben Millar PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu may be starting to put it together.
The frontcourt duo - which has been struggling with its shot for most of the season - found its stride Monday night to lead the Orlando Magic to a 108-101 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The two scored 22 points apiece, hit a combined four 3-pointers and each drained a pair of free throws to seal the victory. The Magic rebounded from Saturday's loss to Houston to win for the sixth time in seven games.
"Hedo got on a roll there on pick-and-rolls in the second half," Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I just thought that we fought hard for (the win)."
With both squads having to fit their Thanksgiving meals in between road trips this week, both the Bucks and Orlando Magic came in tonight hungry for a win. Before the night began, the Bucks were caught in a rut at Amway Arena, losing their last five games in Orlando.
But this matchup was no different, as that streak extended to six games.
"Right in the beginning of the game we were just too soft getting back," Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles said. "It's been an issue, our start-of-game defense ... has not been good most of the year. We have got to find a way for whoever is starting, someone to get us going. We are not setting any sort of defensive tone to start the game."
For the first half, at least, the spotlight remained on two back-to-back No. 1 overall draft picks under the basket.
Bucks center Andrew Bogut gave Orlando big man Dwight Howard quite a handful, forcing the Olympian into three early fouls and scoring 16 points before leaving early in the third quarter with a left knee contusion.
Bogut did not return to the game. Howard, meanwhile, managed to bounce back from a weak half upon Bogut's exit to finish with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks despite turning the ball over six times.
"I was trying to be more aggressive in the second half," Howard said. "In the first half, I got into some early foul trouble. The last game when I got into foul trouble, I didn't play as hard as I needed to. I need to stay aggressive and keep attacking, trying to block shots. Just being there for my teammates."
Adding to the injury front was Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson, who left the game with 1:31 left in the second quarter following a hard drive to the basket. He drained the bucket to put the Magic ahead, 53-45, but suffered a strained groin and is listed as day-to-day.
With less than a minute to play, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's three-point play and Richard Jefferson's short jumper pulled the Bucks to within three at 103-100, but that is as close as they could get the rest of the way.
"We missed a couple of assignments, (weren't) executing as well offensively, and we were missing some assignments on the defensive end," Lewis said. "I think we just kind of went through the motions. But it's still one game, we played hard at some parts of the game but we didn't play a full 48 minutes."
Prior to tip-off Milwaukee was already making adjustments to their lineup without team leading scorer Michael Redd, who holds the single-game franchise scoring record after scoring 40 points against the Magic in 2004. However, he missed his 12th consecutive game with a sprained right ankle.
"It was a war of attrition, that's what it was," Van Gundy said. "They came in here missing guys and we came in missing one and lost one and had one in foul trouble. Neither team was playing with the guys they really wanted to play with most of the night. It was a hard-fought game and a good win."
In his place was second-year guard Ramon Sessions, who earned his first start of the season and finished with just seven points in 37 minutes despite putting together solid performances against Charlotte and New York last week.
Turkoglu ended the first quarter with a buzzer-beater from beyond the arc, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 in the period to give the Magic a 33-23 edge after 12 minutes of play.
It was a welcome recovery for Turkoglu, who was out with the flu on Saturday and was even less productive on the previous night when he went 1-for-13 in a win over Indiana.
Howard imposed his will in the lane, as usual - especially in Bogut's absence - but shot just 10-of-20 from the free-throw line. Orlando shot an astounding 54 foul shots on the night, compared to just 21 for Milwaukee.
"The nights when we don't have it defensively and aren't moving our feet well, are the nights we foul," Skiles said. "Some people may not believe that or understand that but those are generally the nights you foul. It's not because you are being overly aggressive. It's because you are a step slow and you're grabbing people and, you know, we were."
The Bucks will try to seek revenge March 18 when the Magic travel to Milwaukee's Bradley Center, where Orlando has lost eight of the last 10 meetings.
Richard Jefferson led all scorers with 25 points and Charlie Villanueva came off of the Milwaukee bench to score 17 on a sore hamstring.
"We didn't do a very good job of defending anybody from the beginning of the game," Jefferson said. "We did not take away any one player. Their three best players had three pretty good nights. You can go down the line with the best team or worst team in the NBA, and if their three best players have three good nights, you are not going to win that game."
ORLANDO 108 FINAL
Nov 24 9:44 PM
ORLANDO 85 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 24 8:57 PM
ORLANDO 58 HALFTIME
Nov 24 8:10 PM
ORLANDO 33 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 24 7:37 PM
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