Where We’re At
The Bucks have been settled into their homes for nearly 10 days, but finally have to trek back out and see if they can topple their pesky first round Playoff opponent from last year in Orlando. Milwaukee went 4-1 on the homestand, but all of those wins came against relatively lousy Central Division opponents in the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers. The cause for concern was their 131-118 loss against the Utah Jazz, when Quin Snyder drew up an offense that punctured their perimeter defense to the tune of 25 triples. Cleveland put up a decent fight in the most recent game, but it was pretty pitiful that, even without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks couldn’t manage to pull away and win that game more handily than 130-110.
The good news for Bucks fans is that Giannis appears set to return for this one, and is listed as probable with back spasms. Torrey Craig is the only other player listed, and he’ll be out.
As for Orlando, they’ve gotten off to a solid start this season, going 6-4 over their initial 10 games. Recently, they got the gut-wrenching news that Markelle Fultz had torn his ACL and would obviously miss the remainder of this season. It’s an absolute bummer for a franchise that’s looking for a clear direction, and is already missing one of their cornerstone pieces in Jonathan Isaac due to the same injury. Like the last few seasons, it’s been Nikola Vucevic that’s carried the offensive load. He’s at 22 points per game this year, to go with 11.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Terrence Ross is the leading bench scorer in the league at 17.9 and Cole Anthony, their rookie point guard out of North Carolina, has shown some scoring punch despite a putrid 31.6 field goal percentage.
This rematch of last year’s playoffs will also feature D.J. Augustin going against his former team for the first time. We’ll see if that adds any incentive for him to up his game in this one. On the Magic’s injury report, Al-Farouq Aminu, Michael Carter-Williams and Chuma Okeke are all out. Evan Fournier is questionable.
Player to Watch
It’s obvious, but the answer has to be Nikola Vucevic. He carved up Bud’s scheme last season with his pick-and-pop ability, much to the consternation of fans as the Magic gave Milwaukee more than they bargained for in the first round. Watch to see how Bud asks his big men to guard the pick-and-roll in those instances, whether they hedge up more or flat-out switch as the game does along.
Game 11: Against Orlando, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)