ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic faced the NBA best team so far this season, the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee beat Orlando134-123.
The Bucks were missing the services of their centerpiece Giannis Antetokounpo who was scratch because a non-covid illness before the game. Also, Bucks point guard Jru Holiday was ut due to injury.
Milwaukee still comes with a deep roster, and Brooke Lopez and Bobby Portia managed to provide a strong offensive push to keep Orlando on it’s heels.
Lopez opened the game, splitting the early scoring with Portis as the Bucks proceeded to stifle the Magic on their offensive end.
the Magic strengthened the defense eon their end, and managed to remain relatively close as the Bucks grinder through the game.
With reserves Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, Pat Connaughton, and having Kris Middleton, Grayson Allen, Portis and Lopez, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer had a nice rotation of players to sub in and out.
Orlando managed to keep the game in a manageable distance, ending the first half down 70-60, but if those Bucks 3’s start dropping, this will be a bad night.
In the third quarter, the Bucks managed to build their lead up to 15 points, but by the end of the third, Orlando cut the lead back to ten with some gutty play by Bol Bol as well as Cole Anthony.
The Bucks scored 32 or more post in each quarter of the game. Brook Lopez ended p as the high scorer of the game, with 26 points, followed by Khris Middleton and Javon Carter, who both scored 24.
Cole Anthony lead the scoring for the Magic with 23 points, followed by Franz Wagner with 21 points, and Paolo Banchero with 20.
Orlando outscored Milwaukee in the paint, scoring 62 in there compared to the Bucks 56.
Milwaukee shot 59% from the filed, leading us to ask “Where was the defense.
Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley had the same questions.
“There wasn’t much defense early.” said Mosley “I think we didn’t do a good job protecting the rim, but you have to give Milwaukee a ton of credit. They are playing great basketball right now, confident, playing like a well-oiled machine. They share, they move it, they trust their shot, so you have to give them a ton of credit tonight.”
Orlando was sorely missing Carter Jr and Harris, as the beef and strong play inside as well as Harris’ defensive skills and outside scoring would have been a great help.
One bright spot was newly signed Goga Bitadze, played 20 minutes for the Magic, scoring 12 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. He was crucial with key put backs and key dunks after missed Orlando shots.
“Goga can play” said Magic guard Cole Anthony ” he does the work. I mean he just got here and we see him, he just comes in a gets to work. He’s definitely can play.”
The Magic face another tough challenge on Thursday March 9th when the Utah Jazz come into the Amway Center. Tip off is at 7pm