Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/3

Game 1: Saturday, December 3rd
Game 2: Monday, December 26th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 8th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 5th

Bucks 93

(15-10, 7-5 away)

Magic 108

(10-15, 6-9 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 26, 2005

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 29 15 28 2193
    ORL 34 24 23 27108

    Top Performers

    Mil: T. Ford 19 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Orl: S. Francis 21 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Hot shooting helps Magic get by Bucks at home

    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."

    T.J. Ford had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Jamaal Magloire added 14 points and nine rebounds for Milwaukee.

    "They did a good job of not letting us get back into the game," Ford said. "They kept making plays and kept attacking us."

    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 baseline.

    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 11.

    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.

    Game notes

    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 five minutes.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 93 108
    FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 43-80 (.538)
    3PM-3PA 4-17 (.235) 3-6 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 19-27 (.704)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-41 11-40
    Assists 14 21
    Turnovers 15 10
    Steals 4 8
    Blocks 1 2
    Fast Break Points 9 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 1 17

    Top Performers

    T.J. Ford Ford
    Points: 19
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Steve Francis Francis
    Points: 21
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0