Saturday, February 01, 2014
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Magic's Afflalo takes All-Star snub out on Bucks

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[February 01, 2014]  ORLANDO, Fla.  Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo has turned disappointment into motivation, setting the stage for the second half of his NBA season.

It started Friday night with his sharply focused play in a 113-102 victory over the hapless Milwaukee Bucks.

Afflalo, who was frustrated by his exclusion on Thursday from the Eastern Conference All-Star team, scored a game-high 21 points in 30 minutes, setting the tone early with his spirited play.

He scored 14 points in the first quarter, giving the Magic a commanding lead they never lost. He hit 7 of 13 shots from the field and 6 of 8 free throws, watching the Magic reserves finish the job he started.

"I want to play every minute right now. It (the All-Star snub) has given me a new level of passion, a hunger, to take through the rest of the season," Afflalo said. "There is a fire burning inside. I think my focus will be heightened in everything I do. It's not going away."

Afflalo, who is averaging a career-best 20 points and shooting 42 percent from 3-point range, also had five rebounds. He scored 36 points against Milwaukee earlier this season.

"He had a steely want in his eyes tonight when he came out," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "I just told him, in the second half of the season, let the league know how good you are. I loved the way he played tonight."

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Bucks (8-38) and their 14 in their last 15 games. The Magic (13-35) beat the Bucks for the 16th consecutive time in Orlando.

The teams sport the two worst records in the NBA.

The Magic led much of the second half by 20 points or more, allowing the Bucks to make the final score sound closer than the game really was. The final 11-point margin was as close as the Bucks had been since late in the first quarter. They scored 38 points in the fourth quarter, but it was way too late.

"We've got to make more of a stand," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "Defensively, we just didn't do a good job tonight. We gave up 35 points in the first quarter, and that set the tone."

Bucks guard Caron Butler had 20 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter when he hit four 3-point baskets, including one that became a four-point play when he was fouled shooting.

Magic reserve forward Tobias Harris, who started last season in Milwaukee, had 18 points and six rebounds. Rookie guard Victor Oladipo had 15 points and seven assists. Magic point guard Jameer Nelson did not play after the first quarter because of a sore left knee.

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Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounm had 15 points and guard Gary Neal added 13. The Magic shot 51.8 percent (43 of 83) from the field and the Bucks shot 44.8 percent (39 of 87).

The Magic led 88-64 when the fourth quarter began. They limited Milwaukee to 18 points in the third quarter.

The Magic led 67-46 at intermission, riding a hot-shooting first half and a good start by Afflalo and center Nikola Vucevic. Afflalo had 17 points and Vucevic had 12 at halftime. It was the most points they have scored in a half this season, and the most the Bucks have allowed in an opening two quarters.

Afflalo had 14 points in the first quarter when the Magic jumped to a 35-20 lead, the most points they have scored in an opening quarter this season. The Bucks, with their 20th different starting lineup, offered little resistance early.

Vucevic was playing in his second game after missing the previous 12 because of an earlier concussion. Without him, the Magic won only twice.

The Bucks committed 13 turnovers that became 17 points for the Magic in the first half. The Bucks had one flurry late in the second quarter when forward Ersan Ilyasova hit back-to-back 3-point shots.

The Bucks play Saturday night in Memphis, and the Magic play Sunday in Boston.

NOTES: The Magic have not lost to the Bucks in Orlando since 2004. ... Magic G Arron Afflalo, averaging 20 ppg, said not making the Eastern Conference All-Star team will help him in the second half of the season. "I would call it more motivating than disappointing," Afflalo said. "I respect the coaches' opinions. I would never criticize the process." ... Bucks C John Henson was a surprise scratch on Friday night, missing the game with a sore right wrist. The Bucks also were without C Zaza Pachulia (right foot), C Ekpe Udoh (left ankle), F Carlos Delfino (right foot) and G O.J. Mayo (sick). ... With all of Milwaukee's injuries, this was the Bucks' 20th different starting lineup this season. ... Magic F Maurice Harkless agreed to play this summer with the Puerto Rico National team in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Although he was born in New York City, Harkless qualified because his maternal grandfather was from Puerto Rico. ... Bucks G Giannis Antetokounmpo and Magic G Victor Oladipo were both selected for the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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