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Bucks hit Magic with barrage of 3-pointers as defending champs cruise to victory

Orlando Sentinel logoOrlando Sentinel 11/27/2021 Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
In this photo from November 12, 2021, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer reacts during the first half at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. © Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America/TNS In this photo from November 12, 2021, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer reacts during the first half at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

It was a night the Orlando Magic would soon like to forget as the host NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks put up a barrage of 3-pointers to build a 51-point lead before cruising to a 123-92 win Monday.

Six Milwaukee players scored in double figures, led by Jrue Holiday’s 18 points. Pat Connaughton had 14 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists.

Moritz Wagner led the Magic (4-14) with 18 points, while R.J. Hampton had 14 and Mychal Mulder added 13.

Orlando grabbed a 4-2 advantage with 10:54 in the first quarter, but that quickly disappeared as the Bucks went on a 20-2 run to build a double-digit lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter. The Magic went 4 minutes without a score before R.J. Hampton connected on a 3-pointer.

Milwaukee (10-8) scored 41 points in the second quarter on its way to a 77-36 lead at the half. It was the largest halftime deficit in Magic franchise history.

The Magic shot a dismal 36.6% in the game while the Bucks shot 46% including connecting on 18 of 45 3-pointers.

“They turned it up, you’ve got to give them credit,” said Magic coach Jamahl Mosley. “They’re the world champs for a reason. They turned up the pressure and turned up the heat.”

Mulder’s 13 points came in his first start for the Magic.

Orlando has remained relatively healthy through most of the first month of the season. The Magic used the same starting lineup through 15 of the first 18 games. But injuries have caught up with the team as guards Cole Anthony and Gary Harris missed Monday’s game.

It was the second straight game without Anthony, who’s been struggling with a high ankle sprain that occurred in the loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Harris is recovering from a sprained right hand he injured in Saturday’s loss to Milwaukee.

Mosley tabbed Mulder to start against the defending NBA champions.

“He’s been a professional the entire time,” said Mosley. “He comes from a great organization. He does a really good job with our guys, communicating the things he sees. The things he knows. He’s done a great job for us staying ready and that proved itself the other night.”

Last season, Mulder started six games with the Golden State Warriors, filling in for Draymond Green and Kevon Looney in the lineup. His previous start was against the New Orleans Pelicans on May 14.

“They know I’ve been ready and staying ready throughout the beginning of my start here,” said Mulder. “It’s good that they can show confidence in me and obviously, I plan to go out there and play well with those guys out for sure.”

Whether as a starter or coming off the bench, Mulder’s focus remains unchanged.

“It’s about preparation and that doesn’t change game-in or game-out,” Mulder said. “Whether you’re playing or starting or playing limited minutes, your approach should be the same, so that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Mulder has appeared in five games since signing a two-way contract with the Magic on Oct. 26. He’s averaging 3.2 points and 5.8 minutes per game. In Saturday’s loss to the Bucks, he came off the bench to score a season-high 13 points in 16 minutes in a 117-108 loss.

His performance had caught the admiration of his teammates, mainly center Wendell Carter Jr., who played against Mulder when he was a member of the Chicago Bulls last season.

“He’s skilled, he understands the game, and he has a high IQ,” Carter said. “He’s a phenomenal shooter and has a great feel for the game.”

Orlando wrapped up its five-game road trip Monday night and return home to host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday at the Amway Center.

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