ORLANDO, Florida — The time is now to close out the Orlando Magic for the Milwaukee Bucks. Game 5 will tip off at 4:00 on August 26th on NBATV.
After Game 1, many seemed to panic after Milwaukee dropped their 2020 playoff debut. However, the tides have turned, as the Bucks have now won three straight games to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
In order to come out victorious on Wednesday, Milwaukee has to do a few things…
Get Khris Going
2-time All-Star Khris Middleton has had his ups and downs as of late. In the seeding games, he averaged 19.7 points on 48% FG. Against Orlando, those numbers have taken a dip. He is now averaging 13.5 points on 34% FG in 4 games. In order for Milwaukee to win this game comfortably, Middleton has to have one of his better games in Game 5, not only to ensure a win, but to use a building block moving forward.
*Middleton finished Game 4 with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists.*
Deny Vucevic the Ball
The Magic have heavily relied on Nikola Vucevic to carry the offensive load, and it has worked. Averaging 29.5 points on 54% FG (43% 3PT), he has been able to win the Magic one game and keep them relevant in all others. Milwaukee cannot afford to have “Vuc” to get the hot hand early, so denying the ball from entry into the low/high post will be key.
(picture via: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-sp-orlando-magic-face-milwaukee-bucks-game-4-playoffs-20200824-7idubcz32fdzddhdpgfqgvzc4q-story.html)
Control the Paint
In the series opener, Milwaukee was outscored in the paint by Orlando, 42-38. Since then?
In Game 2: Milwaukee, 42-24
Then Game 3: Milwaukee, 50-26
Finally Game 4: Milwaukee, 42-20
Dare I say more? When the Bucks control the lane on offense and defense, it becomes almost impossible to come close. Just as a quick reminder, too: Milwaukee leads the league in point differential. This happens largely because of their paint dominance.
Should the Bucks close things out, they will face the Miami Heat in the ECF Semifinals, who just came off of a 4-0 series sweep vs. Indiana.