The Bucks traveled to Orlando to face off against the Magic on a Sunday night matchup. Giannis was unavailable in this matchup but the Bucks had no issue taking down Orlando. Milwaukee was in total control throughout the game and Khris Middleton had the bounce-back game Bucks fans were looking for. Let’s break down all of the action and crown our game MVP in our Bucks vs. Magic recap!
With Giannis unavailable battling a knee injury, Pat Connaughton got the green light to start in place of him. The Bucks struggled a bit early with some turnovers. However, it took no time at all to bounce back with a 10-0 run. Milwaukee got off to a hot start in the three-point shooting department as well. Bobby Portis was able to knock down 2 three-point shots and tack on another basket to earn a quick 8 points. The Bucks were able to take advantage of the Magic’s poor three-point defense. Orlando ranks 25th in the league in three-point defense, and the Bucks exposed that weakness in the first half. The Bucks were able to hit 9/20 of their three-point attempts to notch a 45% three-point percentage heading into halftime. Orlando was just unable to stop Milwaukee in the first half as the Bucks took a 57-38 lead into halftime.
Khris Middleton: 10 points/6 rebounds/3 assists
Donte DiVincenzo: 9 points/5 rebounds/2 assists
Pat Connaughton: 8 points/4 rebounds/2 assists/100% shooting from the field
Jrue Holiday: 7 points/2 rebounds/3 assists
The Bucks came out of halftime hot. Some adjustments were made at halftime and it showed. Orlando had a lot of focus on trapping the pick and roll in the first half, so the Bucks had players slip the screens they set to be hit in stride at the basket. As a result, the Bucks held a 20 point lead for most of the second half. About halfway through the fourth quarter, the rookies and end of the bench players had their time to shine. Jordan Nwora had a lot of meaningful minutes throughout the game. Finally, it was time for young guys like Mamadi Diakite and Sam Merrill to earn some playing time. Nwora showed out throughout the game and Merrill was able to cash in on a few baskets to close out the game. On the Orlando Magic side, Mo Bamba was able to notch his career-high in points. Bamba was able to notch 21 points and 5 rebounds off the bench while shooting 72% from the field.
Second Half Notables
Khris Middleton: 21 points/8 rebounds/5 assists/1 block/1 steal
Bobby Portis: 16 points/10 rebounds/1 assist/1 steal
Jrue Holiday: 12 points/5 rebounds/7 assists/1 block/1 steal
Jordan Nwora: 11 points/3 rebounds/1 assist/2 blocks/1 steal
A much-needed bounce-back game will be the reason our game MVP will be Khris Middleton. Middleton has faced scrutiny from the Bucks fandom as of late due to his below-average performances. Khris was able to silence all of the haters tonight. Middleton shot 61% from the field as well as 50% from behind the three-point line. Furthermore, Middleton led the team in scoring with 21 points and also led the team in the +/- category with +19. After his struggles recently, this was the performance the Bucks needed.
Milwaukee has notched their sixth straight win against the Magic and snapped their three-game losing streak. Middleton and Portis were the guys who led them to success in the absence of Giannis for the fifth straight game. The Bucks shot nearly 50% from the field and 47% from three-point range. There were so many positives to take away from this game and Bucks fans should feel good looking ahead. The Bucks now have a two-day break and will face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Follow for more great content!
Follow me on Twitter at @JakeJMaier and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more Wisconsin sports content. Check out our merch page. Use promo code WISCO at checkout for $1 off! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!