The Orlando Magic held off a tough Milwaukee Bucks team that has been missing three key players to hack out an 89-79 win on Wednesday. The Magic won its seventh consecutive victory after a major roster overhaul.
Dwight Howard scored 28 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead six players who scored at least ten points. Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson chopped in 13 points each while Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass and JJ Redick had 10 points each.
Corey Maggette led Milwaukee with 21 points. Larry Sanders added 15, John Salmons chipped in 13 points and Earl Boykins scored 12 points. The Bucks had a slight rebounding edge, 48-44, as five players grabbed at least seven rebounds each.
Milwaukee has been missing Brandon Jennings, Carlos Delfino and Drew Gooden especially on offense but their physical type of play has been giving other NBA teams a difficult time adapt to.
The Bucks cut the Magic lead to five, 84-79, late in the fourth quarter but Howard and Turkoglu combined for five straight points to put the game beyond reach.
The Miami Heat scored another win on Tuesday but this time it was tougher than what the final score actually showed. The Heat struggled offensively in the second and most of the third quarter but found a way to break away in the fourth quarter to beat the Milwauke Bucks, 101-89.
Dwayne Wade topscored with 34 points, LeBron James had 25 points and dished out 9 assists and big man Chris Bosh had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Miami which has won 19 of its last 20 games. Miami also got big baskets from its bench in the endgame. James Jones hit a three-pointer while Mario Chalmers hit two triples to cap off a strong finish for the Heat.
John Salmons led the Bucks with 18 points, center Andrew Bogut added 16 and Keyon Dooling had 14 points.
The Bucks led 51-47 at halftime but it was slowly chipped off by James on consecutive fastbreak drives.
Bucks head coach Scott Skiles was called for two technical fouls but was not ejected since the call was not for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, the barrage of three-pointers by Miami came in just a few seconds after the call. Those were telling blows to the Bucks as they never recovered.
Lithuania played like true championship contenders in their quarterfinals match against Argentina on Thursday. They defeated favorites Argentina 104-85 to advance to the semifinal round of the FIBA World Championship for the first time. Lithuania is set to meet powerhouse team USA in the semifinals on Saturday.
Lithuania shot well from the floor, distributing the ball well that resulted to a balanced offense that kept the opponents guessing on defense. They also played great defense by limiting Argentina’s leading scorer Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets. The hardworking Scola averaged a shade over 30 points per game but was limited to 13 points.
Seven players from Lithuania scored in double figures led by NBA veteran Linas Kleiza of the Toronto Raptors. Simas Jasaitis, Tomas Delininkaitis and Martynus Pocius added 16 points each. Pocius played for Duke under current US coach Mike Krzyzewski. The semifinals match on Saturday between the US and Lithuania would be an unusual for them.