When Frank Vogel describes the improvement Mario Hezonja has shown lately, Vogel doesn’t first mention how Hezonja has averaged 17.0 points per game over the Orlando Magic’s last five games.

Instead, Vogel cites a pair of defensive plays Hezonja made Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Late in the third quarter and again early in the fourth quarter, Hezonja jumped straight up, arms raised, when the Bucks’ Sean Kilpatrick attempted shots near the rim. Hezonja never made contact with the ball, but his body collided with Kilpatrick, and Kilpatrick missed both shots without drawing a foul.

Vogel has all but begged Hezonja to improve his defense over the 1½ seasons Vogel has coached him. When Hezonja stopped Kilpatrick for the second time, Hezonja glanced toward the Magic bench and smiled at Vogel. It reminded Vogel of how children smile at their parents when they’ve made their parents proud.

“The two collisions,” Hezonja said, “he wants that, and I’ll do it. I’ll do whatever he wants. Those collisions at the rim, he’s asking the entire team [to do that] every day, every practice, every game, so we have to do it. It took me awhile, because I’m always a guy that is physical but I don’t want to drop on the floor. But now, I’m getting his message.”