MILWAUKEE (AP) — With Giannis Antetokounmpo on the bench in street clothes, the Milwaukee Bucks had their lowest scoring output of the season and fell flat.
“We’ll probably throw this one in the trash can and move on,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We just didn’t have it tonight.”
Antetokounmpo sat out with right knee soreness after scoring 29 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in Milwaukee’s win over Dallas last Friday night. His absence was clearly felt in a listless 103-83 blowout loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday night that snapped the Bucks’ six-game winning streak.
“The soreness and the pounding of his body is pretty significant,” Budenholzer said. “I don’t think it’s a long-term thing, but I think a back-to-back, and the loads his puts himself through for us, he needs this.”
Jonathan Isaac scored 17 points and Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross each added 15 for Orlando. Vucevic also pulled down 17 rebounds.
“Obviously, without Giannis it is a different team. He is a huge part because he brings so much attention,” Vucevic said. “You have to game plan just for him. It did help a little bit that he wasn’t out there because he is such a great player. I am glad that we took care of business and we got this win.”
Aaron Gordon chipped in 14 points as Orlando prevented Milwaukee form sweeping the three-game season series.
The Bucks lost for just the second time in 14 games.
“They played hard, they hit shots. They made us uncomfortable,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said.
The Magic led by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter and clamped down on defence, especially in the second half, to stymie the Bucks high-powered offense. Milwaukee’s previous low point total was 87 in a loss to Miami on December 22.
“I thought in the second half we did a lot better job just keeping the ball out of the paint,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said.
Eric Bledsoe had 19 points and Malcolm Brogdon 14 for Milwaukee, which shot just 33 per cent overall and made only six of 35 shots from three-point range, tying their fewest number of 3s made in a game this season.
“I’m thinking everybody was tired,” Bledsoe said. “We had no legs. We missed a lot of threes.”
The Bucks took an early 8-0 lead, but Orlando answered with a 20-4 run and held a 20-19 lead after the first quarter. Milwaukee shot just 30 per cent in the period.
Orlando led 59-49 at the half, shooting 53 per cent.
Nikola Mirotic, acquired from New Orleans in a three-team trade near the trading deadline, donned a Bucks uniform for the first time but didn’t see action as he recovers from a right calf strain.