Game Day 53 and Milwaukee come to Orlando to face the Magic. The Bucks are looking solid for homecourt advantage in the playoffs as the Magic still hope to reach for a play-in position.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS MILWAUKEE COME TO ORLANDO
The Bucks last played on Friday night in a free scoring game, losing to the Charlotte Hornets by 127-119. Seven Milwaukee players made double figure scoring, including all five starters. A make shift Bucks team was led in scoring, by Jordan Nwora with 24 points. Bobby Portis made a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Magic took another defeat also on Friday night in hard fought game in the Amway Center against the Indana Pacers by 111-106. Orlando used 11 players, with a highlight performance coming from Terrence Ross. Ross had 24 points again as he came off the bench. Only 2 other Orlando players had double figure scoring being Mo Bamba and James Ennis III. Gary Harris hit 8 points on his Magic debut playing well on defence with a minutes restriction.
The Bucks have won 14 of 26 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 10 of 27 games at home. Season records see Orlando at 17-35, whilst Milwaukee are 32-20. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Bucks have a 4-6 record, whilst Orlando are 3-7. Milwaukee have lost their last three games and Orlando four.
Results see Milwaukee 3rd in the Eastern Conference and Orlando are still sat 14th.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Last season saw the Bucks have record 56-17, finishing 1st in Eastern Conference. They were eliminated in NBA Eastern Conference Semi-finals 1-4 by Miami Heat.
The Bucks come into the game as the NBA’s 7th ranked offensive team, scoring on average a league leading 118.9 points per game.
Offensively they play at a high pace, currently the third fastest in the NBA. They rate 4th in the NBA with 15.2 fast break points per game. The Bucks do get assists, 25.5 per game but are not reliant upon them with players who can create their own opportunity. Scoring wise 50.2% of Milwaukee’s points per game comes from inside the paint. 36.6% of their points per game come from beyond the arc, seeing them as one of the highest three point scoring teams in the NBA. They shoot an impressive 48.5% from the field and 39.2% with the 3 ball, bettered only by the Clippers. Partly because of that shooting efficiency Milwaukee do not get many free throws per game, attempting 20.8 per game, making 15.8 of those attempted. Making only 75.7% of their free throws accounts for 13.2% of their points per game.
A defensive rating at 9th sees them conceding 113.4 points per game. They rate in the lower half of the league for blocks (4.6 per game) but are eighth for steals (8.1 per game). They turn the ball over at a high rate of 14.1 times per game. This is also a team that does not foul often, only 17.1 times per game. That sees them second only to Orlando in this category. Milwaukee defend the paint well, daring opponents to shoot the three. 44.8% of opponent points come in the paint (second least in the NBA) and an NBA fourth worst rate of 39% from deep.
THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS SQUAD
Coach Mike Budenholzer has a wealth of talent but the question will be how much is available as most of the star power was absent last game. According to ESPN that could be different tonight.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.8 PPG) (knee) is doubtful.
Jrue Holiday (17.2 PPG) (knee) is day-to-day and probable for tonight.
Donte DiVincenzo (10.7 PPG) (hip) is day-to-day and probable for tonight.
Khris Middleton (20.3 PPG) (knee) is day-to-day and probable for tonight.
Brook Lopez (11.4 PPG) (back) is day-to-day and probable for tonight.
PJ Tucker (4.1 PPG) (calf) is out.
In their last game against Charlotte Coach Mike Budenholzer started Jordan Nwora (5.3 PPG), Jeff Teague (7.1 PPG), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (3.6 PPG), Bryn Forbes (9.4 PPG) and Bobby Portis (11.3 PPG).
From the bench came Sam Merrill (3.1 PPG), Mamadi Diakite (3.4 PPG), Axel Toupane (1.8 PPG), Rodions Kurucs (0.9 PPG) and Pat Connaughton (6.7 PPG).
HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS
The head-to-head record in the 115 regular season games played sees the Bucks leading 62-53.
The teams have met this season on Game Day 11, in the Amway on January 11. The Bucks took the game 121-99
The teams met 4 times in the regular season of 2019-20 with the Milwaukee Bucks winning them all.
The previous season also saw Orlando lose a 3 game series 1-2.
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 you include the 2020 Playoff series Milwaukee have now won 9 of the last 10 games played against Orlando!
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT AS MILWAUKEE COME TO ORLANDO
As I write the injury report on ESPN makes for less good reading.
Mo Bamba (6.4 PPG) is questionable with a hip contusion.
Chuma Okeke (6.9 PPG) is day-to-day with a hip issue.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Karim Mane (1 PPG) is listed as out with a hamstring issue, but his status is again questionable for the game.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Khem Birch (5.3 PPG) has been waived by the Magic and is now a member of the Toronto Raptors.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP AS MILWAUKEE COME TO ORLANDO
The Magic starting unit against Indiana used by Coach Clifford was Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG), Wendell Carter Jr (11.4 PPG), Chuma Okeke (6.9 PPG), James Ennis III (8.3 PPG) and Dwayne Bacon (10.3 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (16.4 PPG), RJ Hampton (4.2 PPG), Cole Anthony (11 PPG), Mo Bamba (6.4 PPG) and Gary Harris (9.6 PPG).
Chasson Randle (5.6 PPG) and Devin Cannady (2 PPG) were available but did not feature.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 14th
SEASON RECORD – 17-35
HOME RECORD – 10-17
ROAD RECORD – 7-18
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.7)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 22ND OF 30 (112.9)
POINTS PER GAME – 29TH OF 30 (104.6)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 15TH OF 30 (111.7)
RECORDS WHEN LEADING AND SCORING
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 8-10
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 13-4
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 10-3
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-20
WHEN SCORING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 5-10
WHEN SCORING 110 TO 119 POINTS OR MORE – 5-4
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 6-1
RECORDS FOR CONCEDING THIS SEASON
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 6-3
WHEN CONCEDING 100 TO 109 POINTS – 3-6
AND WHEN CONCEDING 110 TO 119 POINTS – 6-13
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-12
LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 77 – GAME DAY 38 SAN ANTONIO SPURS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS MILWAUKEE COME TO ORLANDO
As Milwaukee come to Orlando this is potentially a big ask for a Magic team still finding itself. That task will be even greater should Milwaukee see the return of their stars in full or part.
Milwaukee can be an offensive juggernaut, even without Giannis. They are superb with the three ball and that is something Orlando have been having difficulty defending. Orlando need to re-establish that defensive tenacity that has so often marked performances. unfortunately in the past four games the Magic have allowed an average of 124.5 points per game. Against a team with a league leading points per game record that will be no easy task.
Orlando have fell short on many occasions through an inability to shoot the long ball accurately against Milwaukee. We have seen multiple times that they pack the paint and dare opponents to shoot from distance.
No realistic Magic fan expects a win but there is reason to feel optimistic they could sneak one. Tonight will see this fledgling Magic team face yet another fancied team. Their experience and understanding is growing with each game and there has been the benefit of some practice time. That practice has focused upon defence. Understanding each others role and abilities is essential in a team. That chemistry is growing.
KEY DATES IN THE NBA
Orlando has seen results around them beneficial for the lottery position. The Magic remain with the 4th worst record in the NBA. This means Orlando have a 12.5% chance of landing the number 1 draft pick when the lottery comes. Orlando are 5.5 games back of Chicago in 10th. As we said above Orlando are clearly still competing for the post season.
The dates to look for as the season progresses are:
The regular season ends May 16th.
The Play-In tournament is May 18th and 21st.
From May 22nd to July 22nd the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to run.
The date for the Draft Lottery as June 22nd.
The 2021 NBA Draft is set for July 29th.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the 2021-22 season is hoped to start back at its more normal time of late October.