The Milwaukee Bucks sloughed off last night’s horrendous offensive performance in Miami to come away with a win against the Orlando Magic, 111-104. Milwaukee gave up 5-10 shooting from Orlando in the first quarter alone, falling behind 29-25 at the period’s end. Heading into halftime, Orlando still carried an advantage at 54-50, as the Magic continued to take Milwaukee’s defense to task both beyond the arc and inside the paint. The Bucks took a 78-74 lead after the third quarter, with Khris Middleton drawing a foul from the 3-point line near the end. Milwaukee expanded their lead late in the game before Orlando’s fruitless fouling finally petered out and the Bucks got the W.
The Bucks now lead the league in record on back-to-backs with a 9-3 record. Taking last night’s relatively disappointing loss and bouncing back with a promising win tonight is comforting for all Bucks fans, even if it was closer than most would’ve liked down the stretch.
Giannis looked far more comfortable tonight without James Johnson bearhugging him on every drive to the basket, going for 32 points, five rebounds and five assists on a far more efficient 14-24 performance. His comfort makes a huge difference to the Bucks offense flowing well, even if it still stalled at points tonight.
Meanwhile, Eric Bledsoe again played within himself for a quiet 18 points, but he also dished out 8 assists on the evening. Khris Middleton was the maestro of the midrange with 21 points on the evening to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. Both of them handled plenty of creation for Milwaukee tonight.
Mario Hezonja led the Magic with 23 points on the evening, while Evan Fournier chimed in with 20 points of his own. Shelvin Mack came off the bench to notch 19 points and 10 assists.
Stat That Stood Out
+20 on midrange points: Continuing a trend that’s been relevant for many of Milwaukee’s latest wins, Milwaukee outscored the Magic 26-6 from the midrange. Thankfully they also made one more three than the Magic, but it’s a surprising night when the Bucks get outscored in the paint by ten points and still manage to win handily as they did tonight. Clutch shooting by Middleton and Bledsoe helped put them ahead in this inefficient zone.