Ellis leads Bucks past Magic 107-98
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Monta Ellis' defense helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 107-98 win over the reeling Orlando Magic on Saturday.
Ellis scored 21 points and had 11 assists for the Bucks, who were playing their fourth game in five nights. Ellis' stifling defense helped keep Orlando guard J.J. Redick in check.
The Magic dropped their ninth in a row.
Redick made just five of 16 shots from the field and only two of nine from 3-point range.
"The defense that Monta Ellis played tonight on J.J. Redick was as good as you'll see all year," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said.
"For the entire time he was out there, Monta was just totally focused defensively. When he's playing like that, he can guard just about anybody. I just loved the way he was playing, the energy he had on both ends of the floor."
Brandon Jennings had 20 points and Larry Sanders had 17 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots for Milwaukee. Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points and eight rebounds. Mike Dunleavy scored 11 points, hitting three of four 3-pointers.
"Everybody moved the ball well. I thought we just had a nice little rhythm going," Boylan said.
"Sometimes when we play with that kind of ease, we can get a little distracted and lose a little focus and we did on a couple of occasions."
Sanders' performance also earned praise from Boylan.
"We're trying to get Larry to understand that if he just dives to the rim, good things are going to happen for him," he said. "Tonight he did that and he was rewarded for that. When he's active like that and blocking shots, he's a game changer."
Sanders said he expected a physical game.
"I was just trying to stay close to that rim. I knew their bigs were going to be real physical and have a lot of energy. I just tried to match it," he said.
Nikola Vucevic had 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Orlando, and Maurice Harkless had 19 points and 14 rebounds, both career highs.
"(Harkless) has done a great job of continuing to work on his game and listen and apply the things that are going to make him a really good player in this league," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Harkless said he felt Orlando "did a good job competing," despite falling behind by double digits at various times in the game.
"Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win, but I think we showed what we can do," Harkless said.
The Bucks held on after a late run from the Magic.
The Bucks led 101-86 before Orlando went on a 10-0 run, capped by Redick's 3-pointer from the top of the key with less than a minute left. Ellis hit a pair of free throws to give the Bucks a 103-96 lead. Harkless made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 103-98. Ellis then added two more foul shots, extending the Bucks lead to seven.
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