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Eric Bledsoe replaced the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Milwaukee Bucks‘ all-purpose threat and ran circles around the Orlando Magic.

 

Coach Joe Prunty was just as impressed with the contributions from his quick point guard that didn’t make the stat sheet.

Bledsoe had his fourth career triple-double with 20 points Authentic Dalton Schultz Jersey , 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a 102-86 win on Monday night in the final regular-season game at the Bradley Center.

”For as good as he was statistically tonight, there are things you don’t see on the stat sheet and that ability to get on the ball and defense,” Prunty said, ”and that’s critical for us.”

Shabazz Muhammad added season-high 22 points and helped spark a 20-6 run in the third quarter for the Bucks, who leapfrogged Miami for sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Heat lost to Oklahoma City on Monday.

A win on Wednesday night on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers would clinch the sixth seed for Milwaukee.

”We put ourselves in a position to where we’re in a pretty position to determine where you want to be if that’s what you want to do,” center John Henson said. ”But we want to be the highest seed possible, so that’s the goal.”

Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Bismack Biyombo had 14 points.

The Magic fell to 24-57 but had reason to be confident after beating the Bucks 126-117 in their last meeting on March 14. Orlando was 18 of 34 from 3-point range that night to withstand a 38-point outburst by Antetokounmpo.

The shooting touch was missing Monday, when Orlando was just 5 of 24 from behind the arc.

The Magic couldn’t make up for the misses on the defensive end, especially in the third quarter.

”It’s been the case all season. Our defense has never been consistent enough,” coach Frank Vogel said.

Milwaukee won its second straight game without Antetokounmpo, who is resting a sore right ankle. Both victories came against 50-loss teams.

They got a huge lift on Monday from Bledsoe, with help from Muhammad and Jason Terry off the bench. They helped push the Bucks on the 20-6 run over the final 5:27 of the third to build a 74-67 lead.

”We stopped getting stops. We were defending really well up until that point,” Magic forward Aaron Gordon said.

Terry Cheap Sam Darnold Jersey , the savvy veteran guard, immediately gave the Bucks a spark by forcing a turnover on the inbounds play after Bledsoe’s two foul shots. Muhammad gave the Bucks a presence off the dribble to help make up for the absence of the free-wheeling Antetokounmpo.

”Shabazz played a (great) game all night long, played in attack mode … got to his strengths in the paint,” forward Khris Middleton said.

The Bucks led comfortably the rest of the way to close out the regular season at the Bradley Center. A new arena is scheduled to open in the fall on an adjacent lot in downtown Milwaukee.

TIP INS

Magic: Asked for his memories at the Bradley Center, Vogel recalled a time when then-Celtics coach Rick Pitino got into an argument with guard Dee Brown off the court while Vogel was Boston’s video coordinator. ”Not a … fight but just a (verbal) flare-up,” Vogel said.

Bucks: G Malcolm Brogdon (left quad) returned following a 30-game absence. The 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year scored two and played 13 minutes, all in the first half.

AT THE HALF

A game that had the feel of a Milwaukee blowout turned tight after a cold-shooting second quarter for the Bucks. They missed their first 12 shots in the period, with a Bledsoe-to-Middleton layup finally ending the scoreless streak with 5:07 left.

The pace picked up again once facilitators Bledsoe and Middleton (18 points) re-entered the game, with Milwaukee taking a 45-42 lead at halftime.

STAT LINES

Vucevic added 10 rebounds to pick up his 29th double-double of the season. … Biyombo was 6 of 7 from the field. … The Bucks with a regular season record of 668-536 in their 30 seasons at the Bradley Center.

QUOTABLE

”Complacency. I think that is kind of what happens to a young team with early wins.” – Gordon, on Orlando’s struggles after starting 8-4 this season.

UP NEXT

Magic: Wrap up the season by hosting the Wizards on Wednesday.

Bucks: Finish the regular season with a trip to face the 76ers.

The retirement of Joe Thomas left a gaping hole at left tackle for the Cleveland Browns.

Left guard Joel Bitonio is willing, but not necessarily eager to succeed his close friend at the position.

"If they want me to do that, like, cool, whatever makes the Browns better Ezekiel Elliott Jersey Womens ," Bitonio said. "But I think left tackle is the toughest spot on the line, and after playing left guard for four years, going on five now, it would definitely be different.

"I don't think it's a thing where I have to volunteer for the spot, but if we get down the line and something needs to happen, we'll see what happens there."

Though Bitonio isn't a household name outside of Cleveland, he is one of a handful of known quantities on a team that went winless in 2017 and is 1-31 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder was a second alternate for the Pro Bowl and did not miss a play last year, helping the Browns average 4.46 yards per rush to rank sixth in the NFL.

Offensive line coach Bob Wylie acknowledged that bumping Bitonio, an All-Mountain West left tackle at Nevada, to the outside is tempting, but not palatable because it would simultaneously create a weakness at guard.

"The state of the left tackle is our state of the union," Wylie said. "But (moving Bitonio) is the last option. If you were going to go from A down, that would be Z. That would be Z."

Thomas was the face of the franchise for 11 seasons Harrison Phillips Color Rush Jersey , earning 10 Pro Bowl selections and playing 10,363 consecutive snaps before suffering a career-ending torn left triceps last Oct. 22 against Tennessee.

Third-year pro Shon Coleman has the first shot to fill his shoes, while second-rounder Austin Corbett and former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson are in the mix. Coleman was pulled off the field Sunday during practice and received an audible scolding by Jackson.

Center JC Tretter, right guard Kevin Zeitler and Bitonio each expressed hope that one of the top three candidates can win the job and keep their three-man interior unit intact.

"I'm excited to work with them again and, hopefully, be a dominant inside group," said Bitonio, a second-round selection by Cleveland in 2014. "I've become really good friends with JC and Kevin, so we're kind of bonding and I think the sky is the limit. We're continuing to grow together."

Tretter said the uncertainty at left tackle hasn't affected Bitonio during training camp, nor does he expect it to, because he is a "real pro."

Jackson wants to make a decision before the Browns' third preseason game on Aug. 23 against the Eagles, putting Coleman on the hot seat to produce or force the staff to contemplate option Z.

"I know that Joel will do anything for the football team, but hopefully we do not have to go to that," Jackson said. "But if we do Cheap Dallas Goedert Jersey , we do. Once we get a feel for what we have there, then as a group we've got to make a decision on how to continue to move forward."

Bitonio is hoping for the best, and hoping to stay where he feels most comfortable. All 47 of his NFL games have been played as a starting left guard.

"Right now, I'm really focused on playing left guard and trying to get whoever is playing next to me ready to play left tackle," he said. "I think anything else is something that's pretty far down the line."

NOTES

Rookie QB Baker Mayfield impressed Jackson with several sharp passes. "Baker is deadly accurate with the ball," the coach said. "He's an outstanding listener who has been everything a quarterback can be for an organization so far." . DE Myles Garrett, the top overall pick in 2017, and RB Duke Johnson were given the day off, along with LB Jamie Collins. WR Corey Coleman also was scheduled to rest, but declined the offer. . Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel attended the late afternoon practice.

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Posted in SPEED on August 16 at 08:50 AM

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