ORLANDO, Fla. – Khris Middleton scored 21 points, Bobby Portis added 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and 10 rebounds off the bench, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 124-87 on Sunday night to end a three-game game lost streak.
Milwaukee was again without star Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it didn't matter, as Middleton shot 8 of 13 and added eight rebounds and five assists to help lead the Bucks wire to wire. Middleton also hit two 3-pointers to give him 1,000 for his NBA career.
"He's the ultimate professional, so consistent, a great scorer and he does it in many different ways," Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said of Middleton. "At the same time, I think he's a great leader. He's really taken on a more impactful leadership role. Everyone sees the score and the threes, but I like how he takes the leadership."
Milwaukee shot 48.9% and made 19 3-pointers to beat the Magic for the sixth consecutive time – five of those wins came in Orlando. The Magic shot 37.2% and only hit 8 out of 36 3s.
Jrue Holiday added 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee, which never saw its lead drop below 13 points in the second half. Milwaukee withdrew its starters early in the fourth period, extending its lead to a whopping 37.
Brynn Forbes added 13 points to Milwaukee's bench. Pat Connaughton made all four shots and added 11 points.
"The group's focus was good and some good things were happening on both sides of the track," said Budenholzer. "So many positives."
Mo Bamba scored a career best of 21 points for Orlando, who lost his fifth game in a row and 18th in 22 games. Bamba, who has gotten significantly more playing time since the team stepped down from Khem Birch, shot 8 of 11 overall and 5 of 6 from the 3-point range. He surpassed his previous high of two games ago by 19 points.
The Magic is at 2-7 since Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and others were traded during the NBA's trade deadline on March 25.
"I just told the guys we're going to have some nights like this because we're there," said Magic coach Steve Clifford. "Listen, it was a bad performance, I'm in charge of the team and we have to do better."
THE PROFIT OF GIANNIS
Antetokounmpo missed his fifth game in a row with a sore left knee, but Budenholzer said the reigning two-time MVP is on an upward trend.
The forward, who has 32 double-doubles and seven triple-doubles, trained with the team on Sunday-morning in Orlando. Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo showed no signs of knee problems, adding, "I think he's in a good place and making progress."
Antetokounmpo famously hates missing out on games for any reason, but the Milwaukee coach said the star understands the importance of getting healthy.
"He's such a hard worker and he always has a plan for how he's going to improve and attack a game or the season, so he's in a good place," Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo, who are seven of the latter. Missed 12 games. “The conversations are positive and he understands the plan. If you just keep working through it, don't rush it and have patience. "
Bucks: Milwaukee is in the process of playing nine out of ten games on the road over an 18-day period from March 29 through April 15.… PJ Tucker, the last 10 games with a calf load, worked out on Sunday morning and again for tipoff and Budenholzer said his progress was "trending well" is.
Magic: Rookie forward Chuma Okeke missed the game with a sore right hip. He was injured in Friday's loss to Indiana and was unable to practice on Sunday morning. … Gary Harris made his first start on Sunday in a Magic uniform, while James Ennis played exclusively on power forward. It's the Magic's 25th different starting line-up to date – the fifth most in franchise history. Most are 28 in the 1991-92 and 2012-13 seasons. … Orlando opened by missing the first seven shots and eight out of ten.
Bucks: Wednesday night in Minnesota.
Magic: Host San Antonio on Monday nights.