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Monday Morning Media Roundup: August 17th, 2020

The “And so, the Magic” Edition

Milwaukee Bucks v Orlando Magic Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

In many ways this coming series against the Orlando Magic feels like fate working her deft touch. The apprentice (Jon Horst) meets the master (John Hammond) in a clash that will likely prove the latter’s downfall. This team, as currently constructed, still bears many of the marks of Hammond’s handiwork. Without the acquisitions of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton — both by something of chance, it’s true — the Bucks wouldn't find themselves coming off another excellent season.

So there is something of a dramatic undercurrent to a series that should be over relatively quickly. Milwaukee doesn’t have a lot to brag about after a wishy-washy start to the Bubble, but recent 2019-2020 history would suggest they’ll be able to clear a Magic-sized hurdle. Consider:

  • Milwaukee won all four games played between them and the Magic this year (by no fewer than 9 points in each game)
  • Orlando is a top-10 defense (109.5 DRTG), but lost interior blocking dynamo Jonathan Isaac to a torn ACL during Bubble play
  • The Magic’s 108.5 ORTG is good for 23rd in the league, and they move slowly with a 25th-fastest pace (98.6)
  • Orlando doesn’t take a lot of threes (32.2 3PA during the regular season v. 34.3 3PA inside The Bubble)
  • Giannis averaged the following in three games against Orlando: 26.3 pts (.509/.333/.645), 15.7 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 4.7 turnovers, +17.9 net rating, 37.7% AST%, .575 TS%
  • Khris averaged the following in four games against Orlando: 19.5 points (.508/.370/1.000), 8.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.0 turnovers, +8.3 net rating, .624 TS%

If anything, we can view this series against Orlando as the perfect opportunity for Milwaukee to refine that which they’ve struggled with most since the return to play. That slow pace imposed by the Magic should give the Bucks possessions to calculate their way through the full shot-clock in deliberate fashion. The turnovers will have to improve because the Magic are adept at forcing steals (top-8 in the NBA) while doing a great job holding onto the ball when they have it (fourth-lowest TOV% league-wide). Man for man, the Bucks should be able to out-talent the Magic via starter play alone, which gives the so-far lackluster likes of George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, Robin Lopez, and Marvin Williams time to round into form without overwhelming pressure.

Even a roll-over should provide a useful canvas for Milwaukee to utilize. That, or they drop the three noon start time games and face a 1-3 start to the Bubble playoffs. Feels like it could go either way with this team sometimes.

Let’s roundup!

Giannis Antetokounmpo frustrated by Milwaukee Bucks’ 3-5 showing in seeding play (ESPN)

The above article title is provocative, but you should see some of the waves this bad boy made on the Twitterverse when the second- and third-tier sports sites got their hands on it.

No, there aren’t any inflammatory quotes about Giannis being so sick and tired of all the goddanged losing that he wants to bolt Milwaukee’s Bubble Bucks. In the main, frustration struck having to sit out the final game against Memphis without a chance to help the team win. In other words, Giannis was frustrated for completely Giannis reasons: Not being able to notch another W in a game with the lowest possible stakes possible.

This is a really interesting look inside what it is that the NBA is doing to try and give “home” teams a veneer of their actual court in lieu of... well, you know, their actual courts.

More interesting is the fact that the maestro behind all the graphics, music, and reaction audio, Johnny Watson, is the Bucks’ executive producer of arena and event presentation. How it is that the Bucks were able to get their guy into the Bubble is probably something of a story, but all that matters now is that he seriously reduce the “home court advantage” for whoever Milwaukee faces as the playoffs deepen.

Bucks, Lakers lead way into unprecedented NBA playoffs (Yahoo Sports)

For all the crap I gave the league for doing this whole Bubble thing at all during a pandemic, I must admit that they’ve made the best of a bad hand. The games have been exciting (if rusty) and some of the first-round matchups will be a joy to watch. You’ve got OKC-Houston in another instance of fate, we’ll see if walking-supernova Damian Lillard can offset Portland’s non-existence defense against the Lakers, Boston-Philly is East Coast basketball’s grudge match, the Clippers might have their hands full against Doncic and Dallas, etc. etc. etc.

Makes you almost not mind the three noon games. Almost.

The Social Media Section

Some might say the juiciest

Let’s win a goshdang championship for Liam

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6 months! ❤️

A post shared by Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@giannis_an34) on

S/O the Hill family

Drip drip drip

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Mr. wrong #queen #gonedelete

A post shared by Eric Bledsoe (@thebledshow) on

I demand a re-vote immediately

The beauty of media-award democracies is you can vote however you want

An interesting listen for all those fascinated by Bucks/NBA uni history (esp. during the 90s) like friend of the MMMR Teutonia World

Sorry, Phoenix

What Kyle did here is called “calming the waters”


He still cares about us, guys

After the couple weeks Dame had, I dearly hope this story is true

Riley’s 2020 NBA BUBBLE Prediction Record: 5-6

retiredjanitor’s 2020 NBA BUBBLE Prediction Record: 5-6

I actually laughed out loud when I went back to last week’s MMMR to recall what I guessed the record would be and hit the nail almost exactly on the head. The writing was on the wall and even I couldn’t blow a freebie like that.

Guessing how the results will go from here on out is an exercise in wondering whether the Bucks will show up and care. If they do, it should be a trio of massacres this week. If they don’t we could be in for some weird Bubble bumpy ride (though the talent differential should still work in our favor). To me, the most important thing is to win and have 2-3 bench players consistently not suck during the series. I’m a simple man.

We’ll see how Milwaukee does as games start Tuesday with a noon tip, continue Thursday with a reasonable 5 PM (Central) start time, and finish the week Saturday with a 12:30 PM appointment.

Somehow, someway the playoffs are here. We aren’t going in under the best of circumstances nor have we played our best ball. It can only go up from here.

Happy Monday!