It wasn’t as exciting a contest as the Christmas comeback, but the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Magic of Orlando, 127-110. The first quarter was a slow but steady exercise in building the Bucks’ lead, as Milwaukee’s lead was backed by a trio of Bobby Portis flanked by a bunch of other buckets. But the second quarter saw a scoring explosion as Milwaukee increased their advantage past the 20-point mark, as the shorthanded Magic just didn’t have enough talent to muster much resistance.
The Bucks maintained a steady lead throughout the first half and came in at half time with a 72-45 lead. You could forgive the hometown fans if they left, as they weren’t really interested in sticking around after all of this, but the Orlando loyalists were rewarded with a revitalized Magic squad that scored a quarterback of 37. points and reduced the Bucks lead down to a single digit within 4 minutes of the fourth quarter.
Magic’s comeback wasn’t destined to happen, however, as Jrue Holiday hit a three and then folded the defense for an easy Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk in the dying minutes of the fourth. Thanks to Orlando for refusing to give up and Milwaukee for refusing to let an inferior team come back into the contest.
And we can do it all again on Thursday! Whiuuuuuuuuuuuut!
Hello, Protocols, my old friend …
Magic guard Hassani Gravett started tonight against the #Roes, played 19 minutes and was placed in league health and safety protocols before the end of the game.
– Scott Grodsky (@ScottGrodsky) December 29, 2021
Gravett, a 25-year-old rookie on his second “difficult” 10-day contract with the Magic, started as point guard and played 18 minutes until the fourth quarter, where he was apparently taken out of the game due (presumably ) of a positive COVID test. That means Gravett shared the field with… well, everyone, running and jumping and generally practicing.
It’s not Gravett’s fault that he ended up with a positive test, and if you look at the NBA’s standards compared to other entities in the United States, you couldn’t even blame the league. to have (somehow) allowed him to play with the virus in his system. At this point, given the length of the pandemic and the collective ‘above’ that everyone is feeling (as evidenced by
It’s possible that it was a false positive, or that there was a glaring breakdown in the process, but that it was a player or a fan sitting on the court, the virus will continue to spread as long as we continue to insist on coming together in and near it. We will know more over time; what we at least know already is that the Bucks have a number of players (Giannis, Khris, Bobby, Donte, Wes) who have just released protocols and therefore may remain available despite the exposure. Stay tuned…
When it is on, Bobby Portis is to. The unofficial Milwaukee mayor scored 17 in the first half, including 5 for 5 to three, and his point production was the kind of lift a team gets when someone is fully locked in their role. To be clear, there is no contrary argument with Bobby, as he has fully embraced the job he’s been asked to do and performs it to a high standard.
If you’re a tall man helping in the transition as Giannis Antetokounmpo brings him down, Bobby Portis hits a 3 on you from the top of the throw-in.
– Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) December 29, 2021
Oddly enough, Portis ended his night at 19 points, making just one shot in the final 30 seconds of the game. It’s not that he suddenly hit a cold streak, but that Milwaukee’s offense just didn’t find him out of place after halftime. But still, Portis is a talented player who is comfortable in his role, and there is no doubt about Bobby’s enthusiasm for playing winning basketball and preferring his situation in Milwaukee to other environments.
What about this third trimester? With 10:05 to go in the third, Milwaukee led 76-48 and the rout was complete. Before you knew it, just three minutes into the game at 7:00 am, the Bucks had 76 more… and Orlando had jumped to 66. In that time, the Magic made four three-pointers. and capitalized on three Milwaukee turnovers, while the Bucks committed a number of shooting faults and missed as many jumpers as Orlando. It was only a short period of time that brought the Magic back, which as any professional athlete will tell you, is not what you want.
Pat Connaughton: It’s about making sure that when we have a lead, especially a lead of this magnitude, we don’t give it a team life. When they have life and they have a rhythm, it’s the NBA. They will take pictures. They will come back. The second the momentum changes, it’s hard to turn back the clock.
– Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) December 29, 2021
- Robin Lopez (more on him later) led the Magic in scoring with six at the end of the first quarter, and the method he uses to get his points continues to confuse me. When Robin puts the ball to the post – and it did for year – he goes to his right hand for a hook stroke. No amount of pivot will cause him to take another hit. I know it, you know it, he knows it, his defender knows it, the people in the dealerships know it, Everyone knows it… But he still converts the shot most of the time. It is simply maddening.
- Donte DiVincenzo is clearly still trying to find his place in the NBA this season (pun intended), but in the second quarter he blew up a pass and deflected the ball out of bounds in one of his trademark bets. that drives viewers… when it works. He again played under 20 minutes and took a number of decent looks from the depths (scoring 1 in 5), while also cutting into the lane to earn free throws and set up teammates. Good signs of progress for Donte.
- It’s not news, but I don’t know if I have never seen such an emotional player when called out for fouls like DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie made a (relatively fair) personal foul in the second quarter and quickly made a technical foul for good measure. But Cousins’ willingness to put on his full weight is still something the Bucks lack while Brook Lopez sits idle, so you’re taking the good with the bad, I guess.
- The Bucks had the ball around today, racking up 19 assists on 26 first-half goals and 31 cents in total. A number of those assists came in games where Milwaukee caught the spinning Magic and confidently moved the ball past the defense, resulting in easy looks and plenty of marks.
- Giannis and Wendell Carter Jr. hit their knees early in the third quarter, a completely insignificant event but one that still made me paranoid and even made less remarkable as Giannis threw an alley-oop on a steal from the next defensive possession. Take this as yet another reminder that Giannis is some sort of supreme being that we may never fully understand.
- If the last point was part A, below is part B:
- Magic rookie Franz Wagner showed up, putting in 38 points on fantastic efficiency finding angles to the rim and making enough jumpers to keep Milwaukee’s defense from grabbing him too much. Wagner even challenged Giannis to the edge and won, at the end of the fourth quarter, showing an odd level of body control for a rookie and a great awareness of the game to start, as Giannis committed 5 fouls and didn’t could not challenge the shot as usual.
- ROBIN LOPEZ, PLEASE COME BACK. Lopez’s other twin was a beloved Buck two seasons ago, and it’s clear the dressing room could absolutely welcome a comeback.
Robin signed a one-year MLE-level contract with Orlando in the last offseason, and given their place at the bottom of the rankings, it’s reasonable to predict that they could part ways with their brother Lopez. Is a reunion with his Milwaukee brothers possible, or even advisable? Time will tell, but until then we can still profit from the shenanigans of these blunders.