The Bucks look to best a stripped for parts Magic squad
Where We’re At
At this point, Milwaukee just needs a victory. With Giannis Antetokounmpo doubtful once more, Bud needs to hope the return of most of his starters can best an Orlando Magic team that got stripped down to nuts and bolts at the trade deadline. The Bucks opted to rest all of their starters in their home loss to the Hornets, and the backup brigade couldn’t quite get past Charlotte, losing 127-119. This should be a prime opportunity for Khris Middleton to recapture his shooting stroke following the 6-27 performance in Dallas. Brook Lopez generally finds his groove any time he’s near his home in Orlando, so I fully expect a 20-point performance out of him.
As for Orlando, former Bucks GM John Hammond and Jeff Weltman finally hit the eject button on their roster at the trade deadline. Nikola Vucevic went to Chicago for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter and picks. Aaron Gordon flew to Denver and Evan Fournier landed in Boston. The tank job is in full effect. And yet, they’ve been fairly frisky since then! Sure, they’re 2-6, but they did beat the Clippers and Pelicans, plus only lost to the Nuggets by 10 and most recently to the Pacers by 10. They’re angling to lose, but as we’ve seen with the recent spate of games, with no Giannis there’s no team the Milwaukee Bucks can take for granted. While Orlando has one of the league’s five worst offenses, they’re middle of the pack defensively. Let’s see how Holiday and company attack the Magic.
For Milwaukee, the only players who will likely be out are Giannis (doubtful) and PJ Tucker (out). All the starters who sat Friday are listed as probable. The Magic will be without Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, as they have all season, along with Otto Porter Jr. Chuma Okeke, Mo Bamba and Karim Mane are all questionable.
Player to Watch
The Magic’s deck, once bustling with sailors, now sits silenced. Only the seagulls’ calls are audible. As the morning sun brings first light to the vessel, the crashing waves stir a lonesome passenger, left behind in the evacuation. The door to the captain’s quarters creeps open, and a deadeye shooter, infamous for haunting the dreams of Bucks fans, steps into the light.