Tonight is Game Day 69 and it sees the Orlando Magic in Milwaukee to take on the Bucks. Milwaukee are chasing the second seed in the East, a position that could be important for home court advantage if they progress deeper into the playoffs.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 2:00am here in the UK (9pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MILWAUKEE
The Bucks played last night on the first night of a back-to-back, taking a road loss against the San Antonio Spurs by 125-146. The high scoring game saw the Bucks concede 87 points in the first half and they were unable to cut into that 23 points half time lead. Milwaukee were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo with 28 points and Khris Middleton with 23. The Spurs out shot and rebounded the Bucks.
On Sunday night the Magic lost heavily to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the final Magic home game of the season by 128-96. Orlando struggled all night shooting from deep, making only 25%. RJ Hampton had another career high in scoring with 19 points as he led the team in scoring. Ignas Brazdeikis recorded another 16 points and Dwayne Bacon 18 points. No one recorded double figures for rebounding or assists.
The Bucks have won 24 of 34 games at home this season. Orlando have won 10 of 32 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 21-47, whilst Milwaukee are 43-25. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Milwaukee hold a 7-3 record and Orlando are at 3-7. Milwaukee lost their last game and Orlando the last 3.
Results see Milwaukee 3rd and Orlando 13th in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks come into the game as the NBA’s 6th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 120 points per game, which leads the league. Orlando are 29th with an average of 104.1 points per game, only Cleveland rate below the Magic.
Milwaukee have a defensive rating at 10th and sees them conceding 114.2 points per game. Orlando are 25th and concede 112.9 points per game.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Last season saw the Bucks finished top in Eastern Conference but were eliminated in NBA Eastern Conference Semi-finals 1-4 by Miami Heat. Reaching the Conference Finals again or progress further is far from certain but is something they are desperate to achieve.
They play at a high pace, currently the third fastest in the NBA. They rate 4th in the NBA with 14.5 fast break points per game. This in part stems from their defensive play, which I will cover in below.
The Bucks do get assists, 25.6 per game but are not reliant upon them with players who can create their own opportunity.
Scoring wise 48.4 of Milwaukee’s 120 points per game comes from inside the paint. 36.5% of their points per game (43.9 points) comes from beyond the arc, seeing them as one of the highest three point scoring teams in the NBA. They shoot an impressive 48.7% 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 21 per game, making 16 of those attempted. Making 76.1% of their free throws accounts for 13.3% of their points per game.
They rate in the lower half of the league for blocks (4.7 per game) but are seventh for steals (8.1 per game). This active style results in them being able to play their brand of fast paced transition basketball.
They do turn the ball over, on average 14 times per game but it sees them concede very few fast break points (2nd least in the NBA).
This is also a team that does not foul often, only 17.5 times per game. That sees them second only to Orlando in this category.
Milwaukee defend the paint well, daring opponents to shoot the three. Of the average 114.2 opponent points per game 43 come in the paint (third least in the NBA) and an NBA third worst rate of 38.7% from deep.
With a game average of 55.4 total rebounds per game Milwaukee are in the top 3 of the NBA. 7.4 are team rebounds, 10.4 are on the offensive end and a league leading 37.7 are defensive.
THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS SQUAD
Coach Mike Budenholzer has a wealth of talent. The question will be how much is on show for any lengthy period tonight on the second night of a back-to-back and so close to the playoffs?
According to ESPN their whole squad was fit and available last night.
Last night Mike Budenholzer started Khris Middleton (20.5 PPG), Jrue Holiday (17.7 PPG), Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.2 PPG), Donte DiVincenzo (10.3 PPG) and Brook Lopez (12 PPG).
From the bench came Bryn Forbes (10 PPG), PJ Tucker (3.8 PPG), Pat Connaughton (6.8 PPG), Bobby Portis (11.4 PPG), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (3.1 PPG), Jeff Teague (6.4 PPG), Jordan Nwora (5.1 PPG) and Sam Merrill (3.1 PPG).
Mamadi Diakite (2.6 PPG), Axel Toupane (1.8 PPG), Rodions Kurucs (1.5 PPG) and Justin Jackson (7.2 PPG) were all fit but did not feature.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS
The head-to-head record in the 116 regular season games played sees the Bucks leading 63-53.
The teams have met this season twice both times in Orlando. Game Day 11 on January 11 saw the Bucks win the game 121-99. On Game Day 53 on April 11th the result was a Bucks victory by 99-121.
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 10 of the last 11 games played against Orlando!
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MILWAUKEE
As I write the injury report on ESPN reads:
Wendell Carter Jr (11.5 PPG) is listed as out but questionable with an injury to his eye.
Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG) is out after turning his ankle against Cleveland. He may not play again this season.
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is out with back spasms. He has no timetable to return and may not play again this season.
James Ennis III (8.4 PPG) is out with a calf injury and may not play again this season.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury. He has no timetable to return and may not play again this season.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out with an ankle injury and may not play again this season.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery for a torn ACL.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MILWAUKEE
Orlando have used 32 starting units this season, the most in the team’s history. With 28 players having featured on the squad in the season that is another franchise record.
The Magic starting unit used by Coach Clifford against Charlotte was Dwayne Bacon (11.3 PPG), Moritz Wagner (6.5 PPG), Cole Anthony (12.3 PPG), Gary Harris (10.1 PPG) and Mo Bamba (7.9 PPG).
From the bench came RJ Hampton (6.5 PPG), Ignas Brazdeikis (5.2 PPG), Sindarius Thornwell (1.3 PPG), Donta Hall (3.6 PPG) and Chasson Randle (6 PPG).
RECORD FOR 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 – 75 – GAME DAY 63 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR THE ORLANDO MAGIC IN MILWAUKEE
For the Orlando Magic in Milwaukee this is considered by many an impossible task. For a lot of Magic fans it is another must lose game as we close to the Draft Lottery final positions. Including tonight Orlando have 4 games remaining, all on the road against top 4 Eastern Conference opponents. However the players will not be approaching the game with any negativity as they attempt to score an improbable win.
RJ Hampton has been putting up impressive numbers since he arrived and they are improving hugely of late. He has six consecutive double figure scoring games. His points per game with Orlando are 10.8, he is shooting a field goal percentage of 44% and 30% from deep. Though his defence has room for improvement still he is proving able to get steals and deflections. His athleticism is undeniable and troubles opponents. It will be interesting to watch him attack the Milwaukee paint, which they defend closely.
We all know what Milwaukee bring. They are an offensive juggernaut and are built around one of the most capable and dangerous players in the NBA in Giannis. Their shooting from three is at times lethal, putting up over 37 per game and making 14.6 of them. Even when fully fit Orlando have struggled to defend the three ball over this and last season. Interestingly the Milwaukee number of threes attempted and made per game is very similar to what Orlando concede from deep to their opponents.
Second chance points will be at a premium against the second best defensive rebounding team in the NBA. Equally free throws could be scarce against a team who foul little. Orlando may need to find early luck with the long ball to force Milwaukee to adapt their game.
THE LOTTERY RACE
For the Orlando Magic in Milwaukee a defeat is not a disaster, particularly if you are embracing the “tank”. The bottom teams are packed tightly together. It is another big night as Minnesota visit Detroit and Oklahoma head to Sacramento.
The table reads:
23rd – Chicago – 29-39
24th – Toronto – 27-41
25th – Minnesota – 21-47
26th – Orlando – 21-47
27th – OKC – 21-48
28th – Cleveland – 21-48
29th – Detroit – 20-49
30th – Houston – 16-53
The odds are explained here on Tankathon.
In the lottery race Orlando are tied with Minnesota for the 5th/6th position for the lottery first round, meaning a 9.8% chance of the number 1 pick. The pick is also guaranteed to be a top 10 pick. Detroit as mentioned previously face Minnesota tonight. If Orlando and Minnesota both lose it becomes a four way tie with OKC and Cleveland. The win for Detroit would move them to 21-49, one game more in the loss column but having played one extra as well, It is entirely possible that a five way tie is present at seasons end for picks 2 through 6. Picks 1 through 4 are assigned by the drawing of ping pong balls, 5 through 14 are by record. Tied teams split their ping pong balls evenly.
The pick owed by Chicago from the Vucevic trade currently sits at 8th. This is a top 4 protected pick meaning Chicago keep the pick if it is drawn at 1 through 4. Odds see it likely to be at 8 or 9 in the draft.
Finishing with the worst record does not guarantee the best pick. The lottery has numerous examples of teams outside the top odds moving up the draft order. Fancy a go on a lottery simulation to see how it works? Then just click on the link and hit the SIM LOTTERY button.