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Rapid Recap: Bucks 121, Magic 106

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 4 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks managed to outlast the Orlando Magic, 121-106. Milwaukee now leads the series 3-1.

Both teams ratcheted up the defensive pressure in this game, each trying to push each other back into a wall. The first half was a back and forth affair, and the Magic were making life very difficult in Milwaukee. Every time the Bucks would pull ahead, Orlando would answer, even in the fourth quarter when we thought the Bucks had finally put things away.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (31 points, 15 boards, 8 assists) had a solid game marred by only a few blemishes. He attacked the basket and scored inside, as expected, while taking several needless (and wayward) threes that killed first half possessions. Wes Matthews (who had 12 points on 4/6 shooting from deep) Giannis is not...he certainly doesn’t have the “bow and arrow” celebration in his repertoire!

Khris Middleton (21 points, 10 rebounds) struggled mightily in the first three quarters, but came alive in the fourth to salvage his stat line. Eric Bledsoe (6 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) had taken a while to get ramped up in the bubble and had some of his best minutes attacking the gaps in the Magic zone...but was a team-low minus-16 on the day. Milwaukee got pretty steady contributions from the rest of the roster, though Mike Budenholzer was criticized on social media for playing an 11-man rotation in Game 4.

To their credit, head coach Steve Clifford and Orlando gave this game their all. Nikola Vucevic (a Giannis-esque 31 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) had a similarly strong impact as he had earlier in the series, and Terrence Ross (19 points, 8 rebounds) was a big boost off the bench.

Stat That Stood Out: +22

Milwaukee managed to score 42 points in the paint, compared to the paltry 20 that Orlando mustered. This was a crucial component of the Bucks’ victory today, especially when both teams shot well from three (41.5% for Milwaukee, 40.9% for the Magic). Giannis was obviously a big portion of this, but the Bucks also did well to attack the Magic when Orlando switched to a zone defense and keep pressure on the basket.