The Milwaukee Bucks’ ten-point victory over the Orlando Magic may have looked like a blowout win ahead of time, and while the Bucks maintained their league-leading double-digit margin of victory in this one, it did not come easy. A 13-point lead shrank to only 5 after a strong Orlando third quarter, and Mike Budenholzer was forced to play his starters all the way through the close of the fourth.
Man of the Evening: Marques Johnson
In a way, the game served as a backdrop for a major announcement: Bucks legend and beloved announcer Marques Johnson will have his number (8) retired by the team on March 24th, ahead of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Johnson is more than just a five-time NBA All Star (four with the Bucks); he’s a top-end talent from a (mostly) forgotten era when the Bucks were actually, you know, good. He helped make the team relevant, even in the years where the league was ruled by the Lakers, Sixers, and Celtics, and his resume lends credibility to his coverage of the team. Marques is two things on the microphone: he’s fun, and he simply “gets it.” He has embraced advanced analytics (far more than other retired players), explains complicated concepts with ease, and has fun when the Bucks are fun without coming across like a “homer.” On top of all that, his personal story is fascinating and worth the time to read, in order to better appreciate Marques Johnson.
Bear with me for long tweet discussion on @Bucks retired numbers given long overdue jersey retirement of Marques announced last night. Some context for how we got here (I.e. why it took so long)— paulpressey25 (@paulpressey25) January 20, 2019
Giannis Antetokounmpo was up to his usual tricks last night.
He ended with 25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in 32 minutes of action. Antetokounmpo made 10-of-17 shots, including an array of jumpers and some sick dunks. The Magic simply had no answer for him. These are the performance we are accustomed to seeing night in, and night out...we’re spoiled. And if you couldn’t love him anymore, do you know what he did after the 118-108 victory? No, he did not go to Disney World, instead he got up some extra shots. He’s a grinder.
Eric Bledsoe had an offensive eruption versus the Magic
If it weren’t for Bledsoe’s timely buckets in the third quarter, who knows what the final score would have been? Overall, he made 12-of-14 shots and 2-of-3 three-pointers to tally 30 points. He was doing his damage in a multitude of ways...pulling up for three in transition to knifing his way through the defense for acrobatic layups. This was his best game of the year offensively, and poor D.J. Augustin stood no chance defensively.
Eric Bledsoe Full Highlights 2019.01.18 Bucks vs Magic - 30 Pts, 7 Rebs, 12-14 FGM! | FreeDawkins: https://t.co/2HdWTZH6q0 via— Dawkins (@DawkinsMTA) January 20, 2019
- For his part, Christian Wood is looking to stay ready as he bides his time with the Wisconsin Herd:
Talk to coach bud before he sent me down he told me to stay focused my time is going to come so I’m gonna KILL everyone until then https://t.co/9h0LSp3TQE— Christian Wood (@Chriswood_5) January 20, 2019
- Let’s not forget about Malcolm Brogdon who again, was consistent as ever in the win. He scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting and continues his impressive 2018-2019 campaign. Is he a MIP candidate?
- Khris Middleton added 15 points of his own after struggling mightily in the first half. He did hit a dagger three over Vucevic to help seal the dub.
- Brook Lopez scored 8 points but did block 6 shots (!!!!). He’s been phenomenal all year for Milwaukee protecting the paint.
- The Bucks made 55.3 percent of their shots and 40 percent of their threes.
- Milwaukee killed Orlando on the boards (46-32).