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Milwaukee vs. Orlando: Bucks Outlast Magic in Game 4

One win away from the semis...

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

The Orlando Magic gave the Milwaukee Bucks all they had for three full quarters, but the Bucks put the game away in the fourth quarter using a 21-4 run to help propel them to a 121-106 victory. After a disappointing loss in game one, the Bucks have now come back to win three straight games and have a chance to close out the series on Wednesday afternoon.

Three Bucks

Khris Middleton struggled mightily offensively for three-quarters due in large part to the suffocating defense by James Ennis III. However, Middleton was lights out in the fourth quarter...and guess who was on the bench during his hot streak? James Ennis. Khris was torturing Evan Fournier in the fourth quarter by using an array of moves to free him up in the midrange while also making a handful of three-pointers. For as poorly as he played offensively outside of the fourth quarter, he still ended up finishing 21 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes. It was encouraging to see Middleton continue to hoist up shots and try to shoot himself out of a slump. It clearly worked in game four.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had to earn his 31 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assist performance on Monday afternoon. Although undermanned, Steve Clifford has had his guys make life difficult for Giannis on more than a few occasions. Even when Orlando successfully walled off Antetokounmpo, it didn’t matter...that’s how unfair it is scheming defensively against him. He ended up converting on 14-of-21 shots and continues to see minutes at the five. I have been a big fan of seeing Giannis at the five with either Marvin Williams or Kyle Korver. They have great chemistry with Antetokounmpo, and even in limited minutes, they will have a decent amount of open shots available.

Wesley Matthews continues to be fantastic on both ends for the Milwaukee Bucks this series. His defense on Evan Fournier has been elite and he has clearly thrown him off rhythm since game one. Regardless of the score, Matthews has been aggressive defensively, using his body to fight around screens and contest every shot. Although he can be a bit too aggressive at times, he has successfully made Fournier a non-factor in these four games. Fournier is shooting 35.5% from the field and 31.6% from deep. The Bucks must be encouraged with how Matthews has played offensively as well thus far. He is averaging nearly nine points per game while knocking down 52.9% of his shots and 46.7% of his three-pointers after going 4-of-6 from downtown in the game three victory.

Bonus Bucks

  • His unnecessary early shot clock jumpers might kill me, but aside from game one, Eric Bledsoe has been great. He has been more aggressive and persistent when he has attacked the basket and has generated a ton of open looks by his penetration alone. He did not shoot the ball well in game four but he was at his best when he was probing the midrange and going right at Nikola Vucevic. He needs to cut back on the jumpers, though...please.
  • Marvin Williams and Kyle Korver were great off the bench. Kyle scored 10 and Marvin chipped in with eight points while making all three of his shots. Them playing alongside Giannis is a scary proposition for their opponents.
  • Brook Lopez was solid in the victory, scoring 10 points and blocking three shots.
  • Milwaukee shot very well from deep as a team, knocking down 17-of-41 attempts (41.5%)