Giannis leads Bucks past Magic
MILWAUKEE--Jason Kidd spent a lot of time walking the sidelines in his first game back as coach of Milwaukee. It wasn’t because he didn’t like what he saw, but more because of orders from his doctor.
The Bucks gave Kidd a 107-100 victory on Tuesday night over the Orlando Magic in his first game back after having surgery on his right hip Dec. 21. He missed 17 games.
“I was told not to sit long, so I had to get up and try to get in shape,” said Kidd, who added that he felt great and would travel with the team to Memphis for its next game.
The Bucks have won four of six. Orlando has lost 11 of 12 since New Year’s Day sliding out of Eastern Conference contention.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points with eight dunks.
“I was scrapping, man,” Antetokounmpo said. “It feels very good to get the win. It felt great to have coach back, too.”
Jerryd Bayless had a pair of 3-pointers in the final 2:20, including a baseline shot with 13 seconds to go that put Milwaukee ahead 103-99. Khris Middleton, who had 25 points, made a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left for a 105-100 lead.
The Magic allowed the Bucks to score 62 points in the paint, one night after giving up 70 inside during an 108-102 overtime loss at Memphis.
“They did a great job of crowding it,” Victor Oladipo said. “They got out on a break and they got offensive rebounds. They were scrappy. That’s why they got a lot of points in the paint.”
Orlando coach Scott Skiles said before this game he was stressing his team play tough defense near the basket, but Antetokounmpo and big center Greg Monroe, who had 21 points, were too strong for the Magic.
Oladipo scored 18 points and Nikola Vucevic added 16 for the Magic.
The Bucks had given up 32 3-pointers in losing their previous two games, and Skiles implored his team to get open looks. The strategy worked, with the Magic making 13 of 24 3-pointers.
“It turned out that was the only thing that actually kept us in the game,” Skiles said after the game. “That was the only way we’d have a chance. If those balls hadn’t been going in, as bad as our defense was, this would have been a blowout on the other end.”
Oladipo’s 3-pointer gave the Magic their biggest lead, 48-32, with 5:35 left in the second quarter. Milwaukee ended the half on a 21-8 run to cut the lead to 56-53 at halftime on Middleton’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds to go.
Antetokounmpo scored on a running dunk with 6:39 left in the second quarter, keying a run of 10 consecutive made shots to help the Bucks get back into the game.