MILWAUKEE--Just call it "Rookies to the rescue."
That was the fourth-quarter storyline Tuesday night as rookies Nate Wolters and Giannis Antetokounmpo lifted the Milwaukee Bucks to a 104-100 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Wolters hit a clutch three-pointer with 29.5 seconds left to give the Bucks a 99-97 lead and they held on as they returned from the all-star break with a bit of bounce in their step.
Milwaukee (10-43) snapped a four-game losing streak behind Caron Butler's hot shooting performance (21 points, 7 of 13 from three-point distance) and Brandon Knight's 18 points and seven rebounds.
But it was Nate and Giannis giving a glimpse of the future as the Bucks started the final 30-game stretch with a victory.
After Wolters' three-pointer, he closely defended Arron Afflalo on the perimeter and Antetokounmpo raced in for a steal and was fouled by Jameer Nelson.
That led to a free throw by the Bucks' 6-foot-10 forward and a three-point lead for the Bucks.
"For a rookie that means a lot, to be focused down the stretch," Antetokounmpo said. "Of course you're going to be a little bit panicked.
"Nate made the three and I tried to play defense, get a steal, make a block or just get a stop.
"I saw Nate crowding Afflalo and he was coming to my direction. I've got length, so I saw (Nelson) outside ready to get the reversal. He was stopping. When you are stopping, I'm going. I got the steal and tipped the ball."
Afflalo, who scored 36 points against the Bucks in a game earlier this season, finished with a team-high 21 points for Orlando (16-39).
It was the 13th consecutive road loss for the Magic.
"Afflalo is really good," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "We know he's capable of shooting the basketball over the top of us.
"We wanted to stay aggressive and chase him off screens, and if we had a chance to double-team him. I thought both guys when they did get the match against Afflalo, they took the challenge and we came up with the big steal against him going down the stretch."
Wolters made his big three-pointer after a Bucks play broke down and the shot clock was running out, but he admitted he would not have been confident enough to hoist a 27-footer a few weeks ago.
"I didn't have much time so I decided to pull up and shoot it," Wolters said. "Sometimes those are the easiest ones, when you know you've got to shoot it. It was nice to go in."
Wolters is 5 for 11 from the three-point line over the last four games after hitting just 3 of 29 the rest of the season.
"I'm feeling a lot better from three," Wolters said. "I've just got to shoot with confidence. Hopefully I can keep it up.
"I've been playing so many minutes and Coach Drew is giving me a good opportunity so I've got to be able to knock some shots down."
Wolters finished with 15 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes.
And Antetokounmpo had eight points, eight rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes.
Butler drilled 6 three-pointers in the first half to help the Bucks take a 53-47 lead. He returned after missing the previous four games with a sprained left ankle.
"I was just excited to be back on the court playing," Butler said. "I felt I had a good rhythm going before I had the injury, so I was just looking forward to getting back on the court and getting back into the flow."
Butler hit 7 of 13 three-point tries, falling two short of his career high set with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012.
The Bucks veteran was excited to see the way the rookie duo helped the team clinch a victory.
"He's a gym rat so I was extremely happy for him," Butler said of Wolters. "I always tell him, 'Don't second-guess. Shoot the shot.' And that's exactly what he did. He's going to be a special player."
Knight, who was a question mark before the game due to a cut on his right heel, went 12 for 12 at the free throw line.
Center John Henson added nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds in a strong performance off the bench.
The Bucks hit 12 of 26 three-point attempts and 22 of 30 free throws, helping make up for 50 percent shooting by the Magic (40 of 80).
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