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- Orlando, already struggling with more than its share of injuries, will be without starting point guard Jameer Nelson, who suffered a badly bruised left forearm Friday night in a collision with Boston’s Paul Pierce. The Magic also is without leading scorer Aaron Afflalo (strained calf) and third-leading scorer Glen “Big Baby” Davis (broken left foot). Afflalo will miss his fourth straight game, and Davis his second after suffering his injury Wednesday night at New York. “We’ll be ready to go with the guys we have and ready to compete,” Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. J.J. Reddick is starting in Afflalo’s place and E’Twaun Moore will start in Nelson’s place. Rookie Andrew Nicholson started in Davis’ place Friday night and posted his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.
- Coming off two straight losses and with road games at Denver and Utah next week, the Bucks consider tonight’s game highly important. “We don’t want to go two losses in a row, so we really don’t want three,” said center Larry Sanders. “We’re going to come out and play our hardest tonight. We’re at home and we’ll have the atmosphere, so we’ll try to pull this one out.”
- At 24-21, the Bucks are seventh in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of No. 8 Boston and 4 1/2 games ahead of No. 9 Philadelphia. “I tell our guys it’s all about the effort that we bring,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “We’re as good as we’re going to be. If we’re moving the ball, sharing the ball, making some threes and playing to our strength, and then we have a high-effort game where defensively we’re chasing down loose balls, we’re active, helping each other and not standing and watching, if we play like that we’re a good team. We’re in the middle of the pack right now. That’s where we sit. We can go either way. We can slide up a bit to the elite teams or we could slide down to the teams that are trying to claw their way into the playoffs. For us it’s the effort that we bring. If we bring a good, solid effort every night, then we have a chance to win. If we don’t, we have a good chance to lose.”
– Rick Braun