Howard helps Magic finish sweep of Bucks
Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (12) dunks the ball in front of Milwaukee Bucks' Larry Sanders (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Magic needed barely three weeks for a season sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Behind 28 points and 14 rebounds from Dwight Howard, the Magic defeated the Bucks 114-98 on Saturday night, their fourth win over the Bucks in the past 22 days.
Jason Richardson had 18 points, and Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson added 16 points apiece to lead six Magic players in double figures.
The bizarre scheduling setup pitted the teams against each other three times in nine days before the All-Star break, with the Magic coming from behind in the fourth quarter in each one of their victories.
Saturday night's win was a little more comfortable, as the Magic pulled away in the fourth quarter thanks to some hot 3-point shooting and dominant play from Howard.
The Magic were 14 of 27 (51.7 per cent) from 3-point range on their way to their second-highest scoring output of the season.
"We're a tough team to guard, because you have to pick your poison," said Anderson, who made three shots from behind the arc. "If you want to double-team on Dwight and take him out of the game, you're going to leave open one of our shooters."
Brandon Jennings led Milwaukee with 27 points, and Ersan Ilyasova added 18. But the Bucks had very little to be happy about after the sweep.
"They're 4-0 against us now so you have to give it to them," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "Exactly what we talked about before the game that couldn't happen, happened, where Dwight had a big game and they made 14 3s."
The Magic jumped out to a 17-point first-quarter lead on the back of Howard, who scored 12 points, including five dunks. But a monster second quarter from Milwaukee - their 39 points was the most they've scored in a quarter this season - cut the halftime deficit to one.
That led to Magic coach Stan Van Gundy getting on his team about its defence at halftime.
"If we want to be a good team, we've got to start playing defence and quit playing the scoreboard," Van Gundy said after the game. "If we're going to have a bad night, and everybody will, it should be a bad night because we're not making shots. It shouldn't be a bad night because we're not playing hard."
His team got the message.
The Bucks scored only 38 points in the entire second half and the Magic went 11 for 18 from the field in the fourth quarter to put away the win. Both teams emptied their benches in the game's final minutes.
J.J. Redick (14 points) and Chris Duhon (12) also scored in double figures for Orlando.
"When we get into our offence and we're playing at a better pace, we tend to get easier shots," Howard said. "But when everybody is just walking around, teams are able to defence us. We have to do more of that."
It was the third straight loss for the Bucks, but the good news is they don't have to play Orlando again.
"You want to give up contested 3s rather than Dwight Howard catching the ball in the paint," Milwaukee's Drew Gooden said. "Dwight got the ball in the paint when he wanted to and scored. Not only that, but when they got the chance outside to shoot 3s, they knocked them down.
"Tonight, no matter what poison we picked, it was poison."
NOTES: Magic F Quentin Richardson sat out his third straight game with a strained right Achilles' tendon. ... Mike Dunleavy Jr. rejoined the Bucks after missing Friday night's game because of the birth of his second child. . It was the first career start for Bucks F Tobias Harris. . Bucks G Stephen Jackson didn't make the trip because of soreness in his right hamstring. It was his sixth consecutive missed game. . The Magic overcame 22 turnovers on the night, although the Bucks had 20 of their own. . Orlando C Daniel Orton collected his first career rebound. . Turkoglu passed Penny Hardaway to become the fifth-highest scorer in Magic history.