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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic Preview: Seeking Sixteen Straight

The Bucks are 15-0 in their last fifteen games.

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks were undefeated in February. It’s a new day, a new month, and a new opponent to put their winning streak to the test: the Orlando Magic.

Where We’re At

The Bucks just keep winning. They win blowouts, they win tough matchups, they win gritty comebacks, they win after playing with their food and flipping the switch in the second half, they just win.

Winning won’t last forever, of course, but for now it’s a fun ride that might continue tonight against the cellar-dwelling Magic. At 10 games below 0.500, it’s another rebuilding year for old friend John Hammond, who brought in yet another old friend for old times’ sake:

Beyond that, the Magic are a squad full of young talent that is still finding its footing. They may be without Johnathan Isaac (questionable, hamstring) tonight, while Milwaukee is expected to miss only Wes Matthews (out, calf).

Player To Watch

Sooner or later, Khris Middleton is going to be in the starting lineup again. Will that be tonight, or will the Bucks continue to slowly, ever so slowly, bring him back up to full speed? From Adam’s roundup this morning:

If you peek past this winning streak, one note in particular stands out compared to Bucks of the past: Khris Middleton. Once a marathoner who boasted some of the highest minute totals in the league (thanks J-Kidd!), he’s been put on an incredibly slow process back to full health.

I’m trying to think of other scenarios around the league where a star player of Khris’s ilk has taken this long of a ramp-up period while remaining as a bench player. Kawhi Leonard was coming off it for awhile, but that didn’t last nearly this long from what I recall. In theory, I can understand it. Bud let’s Giannis and Jrue dominate the early minutes, even subbing in Joe Ingles before Khris at points, giving Middleton a chance to truly run the show while those two are going through their rest periods. OR has been making this point for a few weeks, but Middleton’s 30% usage is indicative of him having a heavier hand on the wheel during his time on the court.

On the one hand, the Bucks have fifteen straight games supporting the stance of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” On the other hand, the Bucks have sixteen wins in the playoffs that they’ll need to be in tip-top shape to pursue credibly, and Middleton as a starter seems to be their best means to that end. With only twenty games left, it’s worth keeping an eye on how Khris Middleton’s minutes and spot in the rotation is handled.


Game 62: Against Orlando, the Bucks will...

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