Hedo Turkoglu was as quiet as the rest of the Magic were for most of the game. Milwaukee was working hard and frustrating and Orlando offense that looked so effortless two days before. The Bucks went from 10 ahead to tied to 10 ahead on three separate occasions. Milwaukee forced turnovers and sloppy play and outhustled everyone but Ryan Anderson and occassionally J.J. Redick and others.
Sleep walking would have been a nice way to term it.
That is at least how J.J. Redick described Hedo Turkoglu's play after the game on Sun Sports. But that fourth quarter? That was clearly Turk Time.
Hedo Turkoglu sparked a 17-0 run to close the game, scoring 10 of his 14 points and dishing out three assists in the final quarter. He turned a lazy, lethargic effort into a strong game and finish.
He hit a step-back 3-pointer that probably had his coaches draw puzzled looks until it went in. He then got into the paint and drew a foul while making a layup. Then Turkoglu continued to attack on the pick and roll with Dwight Howard that made the Magic famous in the 2009 Playoff run. Orlando had awoken and Milwaukee did not have another run in them to quiet this juggernaut of a team.
The Bucks missed their final 10 shots, gave up the final 17 points of the game and scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Magic had done enough to finally tip the scale in their favor and take a 94-85 win at Amway Center on Friday for their fourth consecutive win. Now, it is back to the road for four straight as Orlando's home gets set to host the NBA All-Star Weekend next week.
This is a win to be happy about despite the uneven effort throughout the night. This was a game won and lost on the defensive end.
Defensive effort is a good sign of how this team is doing on most nights. And that is where you can start breaking down tonight's game.
Milwaukee scored just 10 points in the paint in the second half and could not buy a shot in the fourth quarter. The 17-0 run shows that. A lot of that work came from Dwight Howard being the general drive deterrent he always is. His presence made Milwaukee settle for mid-range jumpers. And even though the Bucks were making them at points throughout the game, they came up empty late.
It was the kind of defensive effort and energy that the Magic needed to make comeback time after time after time.
Milwaukee took a 10-point lead with a run late in the first quarter and left Orlando chasing points the rest of the game it seemed. The Magic's problems here started on offense as the team just struggled to put the ball in the basket. It slowly leaked into the defense after a good start.
The Bucks took a 27-15 lead after the first quarter. Orlando had to rely on its second unit to try and keep the team hanging around. That is never an easy thing to do.
Milwaukee though never could put Orlando away. The Magic made a run to make it a two-point game by halftime. The same lethargy set in during the second half and the Bucks had the lead back out to 10 points.
The second half seemed to be an exercise in lockout basketball. There were numerous offensive fouls and some extremely sloppy basketball. The Magic committed 17 turnovers in the game and it led to 14 Milwaukee points. The Bucks were ready to come at the Magic and get down the floor and to the basket.
When the turnovers stopped and Orlando could get set and get the ball moving, the game was theirs. Milwaukee should have put Orlando away when it had the chance. It just never had the chance.
Dwight Howard scored 26 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, cementing another 20/20 game with that defensive effort in the fourth quarter. Ryan Anderson had 23 points, but more interestingly had nine rebounds and five offensive rebounds. It all helped the Magic overcome a 43.4 percent shooting performance overall and a 4-for-18 shooting performance from Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson.
Milwaukee got some hot shooting from Ersan Ilyasova (14 points on 5-for-11 shooting) and Carlos Delfino (16 points, 7-for-12 shooting) for most of the game. But you do not need to look much fartehr than Brandon Jennings' 14-point, 4-for-20 performance to understand the offensive struggles Milwaukee was going through. Jennings did a lot of that damage to his own team as he missed numerous open shots with the chance to bring Milwaukee back.
Orlando put the exclamation point and breathed a sigh of relief after one of those pinball turnovers that seemed to plague both teams landed in Jameer Nelson's hands. He fed it to Turkoglu way ahead of the pack who flipped it up for Dwight Howard trailing him on thep lay.
It was not an easy win by any means. It was not a pretty win by any means. But it is a win. Another gritty win where the team played horribly but still managed to come out on the right end.