In their first time seeing them since the playoffs last year in the bubble, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Orlando Magic, 121-99 Monday evening.
The Magic would utilize a strong effort from Nikola Vucevic to help set the tone in the opening period. The center would put up ten points in the first 12 minutes and be a crucial role in Orlando capturing the lead for the majority of the quarter. Despite that, the Bucks would quickly re--capture things and head into the second up 25-23.
Milwaukee’s bench would come to play in the second, outperforming their opponents in the points category and splashing home threes. They’d help grant the Bucks their first ten point advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the half. At the intermission, the Bucks would hold a 64-53 lead.
The Bucks would see their lead sliced to just four heading into the fourth, 86-82. Things got weird, as there was quite a shocking lineup out on the floor to close out the period. Why? It didn’t have one of Holiday/Middleton/Antetokounmpo. As you would’ve guessed, Milwaukee didn’t get too much of a jolt from that unit.
Milwaukee would continue the ride the strong level of play from the bench throughout the fourth, as they’d help carry the Bucks back into the double digit lead category. The threes kept falling for the Bucks, making it tougher and tougher for the Magic to mount a comeback. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the Bucks were up by double digits again. Milwaukee would end up leaving the Amway Center with a definitive 121-99 win.
What Did We Learn
We learned just how lethal the Bucks can be when things are firing on all cylinders. It wasn’t the perfect game and it took a little bit for the Bucks to shift out of neutral, but later on in the game, things started to come together. It really developed in the 3-point department, as Milwaukee would connect on 13 threes on the evening, with a majority of players getting involved. When a team with the offensive power like the Bucks gets in a groove, points get scored in a hurry, which is exactly what happened in this one.
Jrue Holiday is showing his worth in the transition department.
We’ve been really seeing it lately, but tonight was just another example as to how important Holiday is to this team. I mean, just take a look at this play:
Jrue Holiday or Aaron Rodgers?!? pic.twitter.com/kAb5rdPPLl— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 12, 2021
Whenever you have a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo on the squad, being aware and ready to roll in transition is a must, and Holiday fits that mold. It just epitomizes the Milwaukee offense and allows them to attack in the blink of an eye. The exciting thing is that we’re still just a small handful of games into the season, which leaves plenty of more time for Antetokounmpo and Holiday to gel. This should get even more exciting.
BOBBY. PORTIS. WOW.
Man, what a signing this is turning out to be. It was another night of production for Portis, as he up an impressive 20 points off the bench, which proved to be a massive jolt for Milwaukee. He’d also connect on a pair of threes. He’s showing that he can be trusted to bring a consistent source of energy, and every game, the Bucks are appreciating it. It’s becoming a joy to watch him as he continues to settle in with his new team and really make his presence felt.
It was another solid outing for the bench.
Looking up and down the stat line from the bench, a variety of contributors made their presence felt. Bobby Portis led the way with his 20 points, followed by Bryn Forbes with 14 points, then Pat Connaughton with seven points. There were some odd lineups thrown out there by Budenholzer, including one that lacked one of Holiday/Middleton/Antetokounmpo. Now, obviously, that lineup shouldn’t have happened, but regardless, the bench held their own against the Magic, and it helped culminate a victory.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- What on EARTH were those Magic uniforms? Like, I literally have no idea. Orange? I repeat...orange??? When I first saw them, I thought the color was out in my TV. Some people may complain about the Bucks’ alternate uniforms, but never have they been anywhere close to being that bad...
- These Thanasis minutes are getting ugly, fam. There was that one sequence where he shot (or lost?) the ball and it just floated awkwardly past the basket. I don’t really know what it was, but it wasn’t pretty. Yikes.
- Despite all the knocks he does get, Pat Connaughton had a solid outing. He put up seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, including the connection of a 3-pointer. It’d be nice if he could seize the momentum of this performance and string together another beneficial outing in Detroit.
- Donte’s hustle never ceases to amaze me. I mean, just look at this:
He just continues to be everywhere for the Bucks, and shows his importance night in and night out to this team. Absolutely massive.
- Last, how about Bryn Forbes throwing down a dunk? I didn’t even know he could do that. Also, shoutout on the 14 points. That helped him earn a +26 on the evening. A very well-rounded outing for the Michigan State product.