Through the quad and into the gymnasium, the Milwaukee Bucks are streaking. Now at 15-straight, the Orlando Magic became the Bucks’ latest victim in their path of destruction for over a month. This one wasn’t as demoralizing as the past few, but nevertheless, the good guys got the job done 110-101.
The first quarter went similarly to the Clippers game last Friday night. A slow start from both teams turned into a hot stretch from the Bucks to take a commanding 11-point lead after one. It turned out that the first was the only quarter Milwaukee outscored the Magic by more than two.
Still, Orlando never saw a chance. Getting as close to within six late in the game, the Magic didn’t have any tricks up their sleeve. And when Giannis Antetokounmpo is available to close the game against you, you’re going to need an extra gear.
The Magic kept it close through their defense. Jonathon Isaac led the way with five of the team’s ten blocks yet was the only starter without a steal, of which Orlando had eight total. The issue lied in their roster. Aaron Gordon is a phenomenal player and showed it tonight by posterizing Brook Lopez in the first half, but he can’t do it alone and he surely doesn’t have the supporting cast to play with a team like the Bucks.
Eric Fournier and Terrence Ross carried the Magic’s offense, combining for 49 of the team’s 101 points on 15-31 shooting. They only went four deep into their bench and the lack of depth and talent just wouldn’t cut it.
Milwaukee held this game down in large part to the man who has kept them on this streak in tough times, Giannis. His 32/15/8 led the Bucks in each category, but he had to do it in 35 minutes, the first time he’s gone above 30 minutes in five games. A stat that stands out above all else to me is the fact that Giannis shot 12 of the team’s 15 free throws for the game and made just half, a clear reason this game stayed close. The rest of the team is going to need to be more aggressive if they want to close out these teams earlier.
Khris Middleton had a standout performance, scoring 20/9/4 on 4-10 from deep, including the game-sealing shot with 30 seconds remaining that put the Bucks at 110 points for the game. His impact on the court has been noticed since his return from injury on both ends of the court and without him tonight could’ve spelled trouble.
Again, the win streak is at FIFTEEN. That’s fourth-most in franchise history, behind streaks of 16, 17, and 20. Fifteen is also the number of games Milwaukee won in Giannis’ rookie season in 2013-14, for comparison.
At 21-3, the Bucks will look to extend their win streak yet again when they play the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. Tip is set for 8:30 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPN.