In the Amway Center tonight there is but one question for Magic fans; can Orlando upset the Bucks and get a valuable win in the process?
The Magic face a test against a Milwaukee Bucks team that sit top of the Eastern Conference, have the best record in the NBA and had won 16 games straight after beating Orlando on March 1st.
The Orlando Magic
- Orlando have a 27-38 record, remaining 13th in the Eastern Conference.
- Orlando score 111 points per game (28th of 30) and concede 113.7 points per game (17th of 30).
- Last time out the Magic fell short in a competitive loss to Portland Trail Blazers by 122-119. It was another night were Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner dominated the Magic scoring, combining for 50 points. The only other Magic players scoring double figures were the other starters, being Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs and Moritz Wagner.
- The Magic have won 5 of the last 10 games. The Magic are on a 12 game streak of win-lose-win-lose. A win tonight would continue that sequence, the longest in the team’s history.
- At home Orlando won 15 of 32 games played.
- The Magic remain in the hunt for the final play-in tournament position. The Washington Wizards (who we play twice) are in the 10th and final play-in spot with a 30-34 record. Sandwiched between the Magic and Wizards are the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. The race remains very tight but Orlando have seen opportunities to catch up slip by.
The Milwaukee Bucks
- The Bucks have a 46-18 record and currently sit top of the Eastern Conference.
- Milwaukee have won 9 of their last 10 games played, or looking further back 17 of their last 18.
- On the road Milwaukee have won 19 of 31 games this season.
- The Bucks score 115.6 points per game (11th of 30th) and concede only 111.5 points per game (5th of 30).
- The Bucks played last on March 5th in Washington, beating the Wizards 117-111. Giannis scored 23 points, to go with 9 rebounds, 13 assists and 3 blocks. Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles and Jevon Carter all had double digit scoring games.
Squad And Injury News
- For Orlando Jonathan Isaac (hamstring) and Admiral Schofield (concussion) are out.
- Further the Magic have Gary Harris (hip) and Wendell Carter Jr (hip) both questionable for the game.
- Milwaukee have Wesley Matthews (calf) and Goran Dragic (knee) out.
- The Bucks have questions on Jrue Holiday (neck) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee). Both are listed as day-to-day with Holiday questionable and Giannis probable to play.
What To Expect
- As we ask the question “can Orlando upset the Bucks” it is true to say that no team has troubled the Magic more in recent history than the Bucks.
- Assuming Giannis Antetokounmpo plays he will continue pushing his claim for a third MVP award of his career. The “Greek Freak” this season is averaging 31.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. He is still shooting a field goal percentage 53.9.
- If Orlando can upset the Bucks will depend in no small way on getting a disciplined team performance. Fouls against Portland cost the Magic the game.
- Paolo Banchero continues to lead the Magic scorers with 19.9 points per game, followed by Franz Wagner (18.8), Wendell Carter Jr (15) and Markelle Fultz (13.2).
- Milwaukee shoot the long ball freely, shooting and making the 4th most in the league per game. They are the top rated defensive and total rebounding team. They also foul the second least per game of any team.
- Milwaukee can be susceptible to making turnovers. As we wrote in the previous Bucks preview defensive pressure could allow Orlando much needed extra possessions. Jalen Suggs (1.3) and Markelle Fultz (1.5) are team leaders for Orlando in steals.
- The Bucks allow teams to shoot inside the arc. They give up the league’s most two-point-shots but guard the three very effectively.
- Should Wendell Carter Jr not play Moritz Wagner will relish extended minutes in a battle against Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis.
Head-To-Head: The Milwaukee Bucks
- The head-to-head record in the 123 regular season games played sees the Bucks leading 70-53.
- In regular season games the Bucks have won the last 13 straight. If you include the 2020 Playoff series Milwaukee have won 17 of the last 18 games played against Orlando! Go back further (from 2016-17 season) and it is 24 of the last 28 meetings.
- The teams have met twice this season. In Orlando the Bucks won 109-102 in December on the back of a 34 point, 13 rebound Giannis double-double. Jrue Holiday dished out 10 assists, with 17 points. Franz Wagner led the Magic with 25 points, whilst Banchero dropped 20 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. On March 1st in Milwaukee the Bucks romped home in a blowout 117-139 win. However, the Magic fought hard and played some good basketball. Cole Anthony was brilliant for 28 points.
- In playoffs the Bucks and Magic have met twice. In 2001 the Bucks won 3-1. 2020 saw Milwaukee again win, taking the series with a gentleman’s sweep 4-1.
If Orlando can upset the Bucks it will see the Magic break streak our longest active loss streak to a team. Should Milwaukee win it sees the Magic’s longest win-lose-win-lose game streak in the team’s history come to a close.