The Magic were cruising to a victory. For the majority of the game, they did everything right. They responded to runs and found a way to extend their lead back to double digits after giving up some quick points. Orlando was not able to put Milwaukee away. But the Magic were not able to run away.
When Monta Ellis decided to chase coming down the back stretch, the Magic, despite going and clicking on just about every cylinder, were unable to keep up.
Ellis just decimated a confident Magic team that had a win in their sights and left their heads spinning, wondering what happened? The avalanche that was Monta Ellis in the fourth quarter derailed an otherwise great game for the struggling Magic.
Ellis scored 25 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter, leading Milwaukee to a 45-point fourth quarter and a 115-109 win at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Sunday afternoon. Orlando is likely still trying to figure out what happened with the team holding a 12-point lead when Ellis really let his run get going and seeing a lead slip away in a quarter in which the team still scored 28 points.
It was hard to figure out what more the Magic could do to ge tthe win Sunday night.
The Bucks were making shots. Rather, it was Ellis making shots. The defense could not adjust because many of those shots from Ellis were contested. He scores and when he gets on a role, these kind of nights can happen.
Ellis got himself going and the Magic's interior defense seemed to break down a bit as they tried to adjust. Ellis and Jennings were able to get in the paint with renewed confidence and they found bigs like Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders for easy baskets or for fouls.
Orlando had seven turnovers entering the final quarter and ended up with 13 for the game. This gave the Bucks more opportunity.
But the Magic's fourth quarter offensively was much like the rest of the game. Jameer Nelson was making a lot of shots and Arron Afflalo was too. Nelson scored 16 points and had seven assists. Afflalo had 24 points on 11-for-20 shooting. Maurice Harkless scored 17 of his career-high 23 points in the first half to charge the Magic out to a lead.
Tobias Harris had 14 points as he battled foul trouble and Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 15 rebounds as both did a great job on the glass.
Milwaukee though controlled the offensive glass in the final quarter and this was a big area for Orlando in building its lead. The Bucks also limited their turnovers, preventing the Magic from getting out on the break.
The formula for Orlando was still generally working in the final quarter. The Magic spent the entire afternoon living in the paint and creating dribble penetration to pull apart the Bucks defense. Milwaukee had no answer for Orlando's offense throughout.
The Magic though lost their interior defense in the final quarter. Tobias Harris fouling out midway through the fourth quarterhad a big impact as the Magic opted to go small. Orlando needed that interio presence late -- as they had used to build and maintain the lead in the second quarter with Kyle O'Quinn in the game with Vucevic.
Like everything else, this was a learning experience for everyone.
A frustrating one however. It felt like the Magic had this one in the bag. The fourth quarter proved that one dynamic player can make a big difference. The Magic are officially lottery bound and looking for their star of the future.