ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Orlando Magic are showing signs of
coming together, just as coach Brian Hill hoped.
Steve Francis scored 21 points and Dwight Howard returned from a
sprained right ankle injury to finish with 19 points and 14
rebounds as the Magic had their highest scoring game of the season
in a 108-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
"We've had our ups and downs," Hill said. "We haven't become
yet the team that we're capable of becoming. Tonight to me is an
indicator that we're able to be a good team, we just have to do
certain things on a consistent basis."
Grant Hill added 20 points for Orlando, which beat Milwaukee for
the second time in seven games. The Bucks had won two straight
overall and nine of their last 12.
Milwaukee star Michael Redd missed his first six shots and went
4-for-16 from the field. He was averaging 25 points but finished
with 17. The rest of the Bucks weren't shooting much better,
hitting just 44 percent compared to 54 percent for the Magic.
"I missed a lot of easy shots," Redd said. "No disrespect to
their defense. I knew it would be geared toward me, but I missed a
lot of shots I would normally make."
Hill credited DeShawn Stevenson for helping shut down Redd.
"He takes the challenge of playing the other team's best
player," Hill said. "Not a lot of players want that challenge,
but I think he kind of relishes it."
"They did a good job of not letting us get back into the
game," Ford said. "They kept making plays and kept attacking
Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points and Stevenson added 12 points and
four assists for Orlando.
Francis scored nine of his 21 in the third period, including an
impressive follow shot after Howard missed a layup, to help keep
the Bucks from getting close.
Hill continued to look more comfortable driving to the basket
and pulling up for shots, connecting on several 15-footers from the
Redd's three-point play with 9:54 left in the fourth quarter
pulled Milwaukee to 85-77, but the Magic answered with three
straight buckets to stop the run.
Turkoglu scored nine of Orlando's first 10 points in the second
period on a putback, two jumpers and a 3-pointer. Howard took over
from there, including a strong one-handed dunk over Magloire with
4:47 left in the second quarter that brought Orlando's lead back to
Francis' fast-break dunk and a jumper as the quarter wound down
gave Orlando a 58-44 halftime lead.
The Bucks shot 39.5 percent from the field in the first half and
missed all eight 3-point attempts. They came into the game
second-best in the league from behind the arc, hitting 37 percent.
Milwaukee was 4-of-17 from 3-point range on the game.
The Magic had 14 fast-break points, compared with nine for
Milwaukee. ... Orlando had 10 turnovers, while Milwaukee committed
15. ... Orlando C Kelvin Cato returned from seven games on the
inactive list with a sprained right ankle, scoring two points in