In a battle of teams situated near the bottom of the league standings, the Bucks clawed out a 113-110 victory over the Orlando Magic thanks to a late go-ahead lay-in from Jabari Parker.
Parker led the Bucks in scoring with 26 points, making it the second-consecutive game he has reached that mark. It was his tenth time exceeding the 20-point plateau and the fifth time scoring 25 or more.
His battery partner in Giannis Antetokounmpo also put forth an admirable performance, as the Greek Freak recorded yet another triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was Antetokounmpo’s fifth triple-double of the year, tying him for third on the Bucks all-time list in that category.
A back-and-forth game flowed into the final period of action and began with a hot-shooting Magic team, something that was non-existent in the first half. Orlando went 4-of-5 on 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the period. Prior to that, they were 3-of-15.
Rookie Mario Hezonja headlined the 3-point barrage himself, hitting several threes in the quarter, the last of which put the Magic up 105-100 with 4:35 left in the contest. A Nikola Vucevic turnaround jumper with 2:39 remaining pushed the Orlando lead to five.
Milwaukee scraped their way back into the game, forcing a Magic turnover with 1:28 left. The Bucks took advantage on Orlando’s miscue, as a Tyler Ennis layup high off the glass leap-frogged Milwaukee ahead by one point with 1:17 remaining.
On the ensuing Orlando possession, an offensive rebound led to a second-chance opportunity, translating into an Elfrid Payton go-ahead lay-in with 47.1 seconds left.
Both teams would then spend their subsequent possessions going one-of-two from the free throw line, granting the Bucks a chance to snag a victory, down 110-109.
A Giannis Antetokounmpo missed layup sent both teams scrambling for the ball, ending in a tie-up situation. Greg Monroe won the jump ball and Parker received possession, driving for the go-ahead lay-in, vaulting the Bucks ahead by one with ten seconds left on the clock.
Following their timeout, Orlando was presented a shot to win the game, but a costly offensive foul decimated their hopes, as Khris Middleton drew a decisive charge off Evan Fournier.
Tyler Ennis would then hit a pair of clutch free throws to stretch Milwaukee’s lead to three with just three seconds remaining.
Coming out of a final timeout, the Magic were presented one last-second opportunity to send the game into overtime, but a high-arching Evan Fournier 3-point attempt clanked off the iron as the buzzer sounded.
Regarding Parker’s go-ahead basket, Kidd credited his success to being calm in the moment.
“I thought [it was important] when he got the rebound and was able to not panic, not rush,” Kidd said. “He took his time. For him, you can just see his growth because he was in that position once before and threw it to the stands when he thought someone was there. I think he learned.”
Kidd also exalted Tyler Ennis’ performance on the court, a game in which he notched a new career-high of 15 points due to Jerryd Bayless’ absence.
“Tyler’s not going to panic,” Kidd said. “He’s a point guard that is always under control.”
Kidd continued by praising his ability to contribute in pressure situations in the final seconds and his willingness to show grit.
“I thought the layup he got, being aggressive [and] understanding what the defense was doing [helped us], and then he made three free throws in a row to help the team win,” Kidd said. “I thought defensively he was guarding the ball and I thought he did a lot of good things for us when he was on the ball.”
Ennis believed Kidd’s faith in having him out on the floor in the final moments aided in his showing and the big layup he had.
“I think Coach keeping me out there and running the play for me when it’s such a crucial time [helps my confidence],” Ennis said. “Just being out there and getting experience is great for me.”
For the Magic, Nikola Vucevic led the scoring with 22 points. Victor Oladipo swiped a season-high tying five steals to accompany 18 points and five assists. Elfrid Payton dished out 10 assists and has now tallied 10 or more assists in 14 games this season.
Following tonight’s game, the Bucks have two games at the BMO Harris Bradley Center against Chicago (4/3) and Cleveland (4/5) before taking off on their final road trip of the season. Milwaukee will pay a trip to Boston (4/8), Philadelphia (4/10) and Orlando (4/11) before returning home for its final matchup against Indiana (4/13).