The 16-6 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 5-19 Orlando Magic Monday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. The Bucks played short-handed Saturday evening and still won against the Charlotte Hornets (105-96). MIlwaukee has really started to establish themselves as a top team out of the eastern conference heading into Bucks-Magic.
Orlando is currently in last place in the East. They have last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Paolo Banchero. Their GM is former Bucks GM John Hammond. It seems like they are also gunning for this year’s top pick.
The injury report is out and the projected starting line-up for the Bucks is Jrue Holiday at PG, Grayson Allen at SG, Khris Middleton at SF, Giannis Antetonkounmpo at PF and Brook Lopez at center. We’ll know closer to game time if the Bucks will go with their “big three” but Giannis isn’t listed at all as being out. Grayson Allen is listed as questionable but he should go.
Orlando is a little banged up. The Magic have one of the strangest starting line-ups in the NBA. They will be without Wendell Carter Jr. (their must polished big man) and Jalen Suggs. The projected starting line-up for Orlando is Markelle Fultz at PG, Bol Bol at center, Mortiz Wagner at center (I know, they have two centers listed) Franz Wagner at small forward, and Paolo Banchero at Power Forward.
Franz and Mortiz are brothers. Mortiz is older and Franz tends to score more.
Vegas has the Bucks as 8-point favorites and giving them a 75% chance to win. Closer to the tip, I would expect that -8.0 number to grow.
Show up and show out
The Bucks have had some strong starts this season. Another one Monday night would go a long way. Against Charlotte, with their reserves, they put up 30 in the first quarter, and against Dallas, on the 27th, they put up 41. For Milwaukee getting over that “30” number is important to begin to build an early lead. The Bucks are 6th in the NBA in first-half margin, outscoring their opponent by about 3 points in the first half. Their hot start tendency should give them an immediate upper hand in Bucks-Magic.
Controlling the glass will be key
Milwaukee has led all season in team rebounding. Over the weekend they slipped down to second behind Memphis (49 rebounds a game). Milwaukee is averaging 48.4 total team rebounds a game. In comparison to the Bucks, the Magic are 26th in team rebounding at 41.1 team rebounds. Seven possible possession changes will add up in any game. If Orlando is keeping up on the glass, it won’t be a blowout. If the Bucks have a +/- 7 rebounding advantage at the half, good night!
Bobby and Jrue- Who guards them?
Bobby Portis has played well and will need to continue to play well for the Bucks to keep up with the winning formula.
Jrue Holiday is also playing well. In Bucks-Magic, they will have favorable match-ups they’ll need to exploit when they are on the floor. Markelle Fultz was the first overall pick in 2017. Fultz does not shoot the three and generates his offense with two points attempts. Holiday will need to eliminate any offense from him. He should also attack the basket.
Portis will probably match up against Franz Wagner and Caleb Houstan. Houstan is only 19. Portis needs to be Bobby: talk some smack and get into both of their minds. Portis had a “show out” game against Charlotte. Playing against Orlando, he has that same opportunity.
The Bucks Opponent: The Orlando Magic
Positionless basketball is really here in today’s NBA. No three teams embody that more than the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic (Shout out to Memphis here). Yes, Orlando has two centers listed and yes, the Wagner players are brothers. But really, they are just playing whenever and however they want to get the ball up the floor and get into coach Jamahl Mosley’s offense. (Mosley was born in Milwaukee).
Paolo Banchero averages 21 points a game. He has not shot the three well this year (22%).
Franz Wagner enters Bucks-Magic second on the team in scoring (19 points a game). Both players turn the ball over way too much, averaging 5 turnovers a game between them.
Markelle Fultz was the number one overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. There is more on him in the “things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game” section. He is trying to resurrect his career in Orlando as a 24 yr old. He is known as a good defender and as a good facilitator of the basketball.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching Bucks-Magic:
- Similar to the Lopez twins (both attended Stanford) the Wagner brothers both attended Michigan.
- The Amway Center name piqued my interest. So, it turns out the owner of the Magic (Richard DeVos) created Amway and is worth billions. Richard DeVos passed away but his son, Dick DeVos ran for (and lost) the governorship of Michigan. Dick DeVos has been active in all of the sports franchises the DeVos family owns. He is the husband of former controversial education secretary Betsy DeVos.
- Paolo Banchero has dual citizenship in Italy and the US. He played his college ball at Duke before being drafted to the Orlando Magic.
- Fultz is certainly an interesting player. In five seasons he has only played 134 games heading into Bucks-Magic. You can look at all the stats and all the numbers but with him, he just hasn’t been healthy. The pressure of being the first overall pick in 2017 is something the former Washington Huskie standout has never lived up to. In his defense when I was 19, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing either.
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