Milwaukee had one day to dust themselves off after an embarrassing loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, 109-96. Tonight, they look to get back on track against a struggling Orlando Magic squad.
By now, I don’t have to remind everyone how horrendous Monday’s excuse for a game was against Indiana. There was certainly little of Kidd’s trademark energy and effort all evening, but the Bucks’ also seemed disinterested in moving the ball effectively to create good looks. When they did, it usually resulted in errant, wilted passes getting deflected. Eric Bledsoe played perhaps his worst game as a Buck and Giannis posted his most dispirited performance all year. Khris Middleton was off the mark too. Hopefully heading back to the BMO cures a bit of whatever was ailing them.
Player to Watch: Tony Snell
Snell has been relegated to a bench role for the past two games. The gambit certainly didn’t pay off last game, and it’s resulted in some odd substitution patterns as the big three remain on the court for a good chunk of the first quarter before Snell enters for Brogdon. Kidd espoused creating confidence as the reason for the move, but strategically it doesn’t compute to put a straight shooter with lineups where there are less playmakers on the floor to bend the defense away from him. Hopefully the woeful Magic will help his shot return to its normal potency too.
The Orlando Magic have been in quite the tailspin since their impressive 8-4 start to the season and have won just one game out of their last 15. Injuries have played a huge part of that, with pretty much everyone in their starting lineup missing a stint so far. They were without Nikola Vucevic, Bucks Killer Terrance Ross and vaunted athletic big, rookie Jonathan Isaac in last night’s 114-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks as well. Former Bucks executives John Hammond and Jeff Weltman’s start in Orlando is off to about as prototypical an Orlando season as there is. They’re sporting a bottom-10 defensive and offensive rating and while they’re ranked 13th in 3-point attempts, they’re ranked 22nd in shooting percentage from deep.
Player to Watch: Mario Hezonja
Some people may enjoy watching Aaron Gordon match up against Giannis tonight, but I’m so intrigued by how little Mario Hezonja has even played to this point in his career that I can’t help but focus in on Super Mario. The trash talking Croatian came to America talking a big game but quickly struggled to find any minutes in Orlando, a foul sign for a number five pick in the draft. He’s averaging career highs in per-36 numbers at 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, but continues to shoot just 33.7% from deep. His supreme confidence is alluring:
He thought pic.twitter.com/MXGSpFhFCF— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 29, 2017