Monday evening, the Milwaukee Bucks take on the Orlando Magic as they look for their 17th win of the season. The Bucks currently sit in second place in the East, whereas the Magic are bringing up the caboose in the conference. On paper, this should be a “gimmie,” but you can never be too confident because any NBA team can win on any given night.
Where We’re At
The Bucks are coming off of a short-handed win in Charlotte on Saturday, which was the second game of a back-to-back. The night before they lost in an absolute classic to the Lakers, despite Antetokounmpo’s 40. That night saw the much anticipated return of Khris Middleton to the court, and he looked very good. We can look to see his minutes and usage ramp up as the season continues, and a friendly matchup against the Magic is a great opportunity for him to get some reps.
Serge Ibaka, Marjon Beauchamp, and Joe Ingles are all listed as out for this matchup, with Brook Lopez and Grayson Allen listed as questionable for rest purposes, and Khris Middleton listed as probable for conditioning purposes.
The Orlando Magic are coming off their 8th straight loss, most recently to the Raptors. This is a team that is solidly in the rebuilding phase. And they’ve been able to acquire some great, young talent over the past offseasons - headlined by number one overall pick in the 2022 draft, Paolo Banchero. Banchero is having himself a very nice showing in his rookie year, despite his team’s record.
The Magic’s injury report has Gary Harris, Jalen Suggs, and Chuma Okeke are listed as out, with Mo Bamba as a game-time decision due to back stiffness.
Player to Watch
I mean, it has to be Khash Money, right? Assuming he plays, that is. Khris’s return has been the biggest source of anticipation for Bucks fans this season, and he has arrived in style! He scored 17 points and dished out seven assists in his season debut, in just over 26 minutes. He shot 3-4 from three, and overall looked solid for someone who had surgery on his wrist a few months ago. We can hopefully look forward to more of that, especially as his minutes continue to ramp up. Welcome back, Khris! You’ve been missed.
If Khris sits on the bench for this game, it will be fun to watch Giannis and Bol Bol guard each other. Bol Bol is taking on a larger role this season, and is doing so surprisingly well. He’s averaging career numbers for himself thus far this season, and has a whole 2-3 inches on Giannis. But Giannis is Giannis, soooo...regardless, could be an interesting matchup.
Game 23: 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)