Orlando Magic vs Milwaukee Bucks: Match Preview and Predictions - 28th December 2019
Fixture: Orlando Magic vs Milwaukee Bucks
Date & Time: Saturday, 28 December 2019 (8:00 PM ET)
Venue: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Last Game Results
Orlando Magic (14-17): 98-97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers (27 December)
Milwaukee Bucks (28-5): 112-86 win against the Atlanta Hawks (27 December)
Orlando Magic Preview
The Orlando Magic are coming in on the back of a close win over the Philadelphia Sixers, who had just blown out the Bucks the other night. Despite being below .500, they hold onto the eighth seed at 14-17.
The Magic retained much of their players from last season wherein they made the playoffs and won one game against the eventual champs, Toronto Raptors. But they have yet to figure out how to move higher in the standings and avoid meeting the top seed again in the first round.
They aren't expected to be the in the top 5 of the conference right now, but their young core looks really promising.
Markelle Fultz (21 years old) is gradually coming back to his college form and confidence, Jonathan Isaac (21 years old) has established himself as the starting SF, Aaron Gordon (24 years old) has been ever reliable on defense while also expanding his offensive game, and Mohamed Bamba (21 years old) has been working to get his body and instincts NBA-ready.
Key Player - Aaron Gordon
Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful for this game because of back soreness, so Gordon should look to take advantage of the MVP's absence if he wants to steal one away from Milwaukee.
The 6'9 forward is currently averaging 13.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3 assists. His numbers are down from the 16+ and 17+ points he was averaging the previous seasons, and he would be hoping to get back to his past numbers or even improve.
Gordon will likely be more aggressive in the game against the Bucks as he would be matched up against the less athletic Ersan Ilyasova. He should use his body to attack Ilyasova and Lopez inside, or attract defenders and generate open threes for his other teammates.
That said, Ilyasova is great at taking charges and being at the right spot to contest, so Gordon would have to be mindful of that and use his athleticism to the fullest. On defense, Gordon should look to lock up Ilyasova and contest Khris Middleton in switches at the perimeter.
Magic Predicted Lineup
Markelle Fultz, Evan Fournier, Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic
Milwaukee Bucks Preview
The Bucks sat out Giannis last game because of back soreness, were also missing Eric Bledsoe due to a fracture in his right leg. Their presence wasn't sorely missed though, as the Bucks routed the Atlanta Hawks by 26 points.
Milwaukee have only dropped five games so far this season despite sitting out their star player for a few games and missing their starting point guard for two weeks now.
They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and are 18-3 versus their fellow ECF teams. They also lead the league in defensive rating at 101.4.
With two of their starters out, the rest of the team will look to win this next game at home to solidify their top spot in the East.
Key Player - Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton is currently averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists on an efficient 49.1 % from the field. He should look to embrace being the first option next game and be a threat on both offense and defense.
The Magic don't exactly have the best perimeter defense, and Middleton should be able to challenge their third year forward Jonathan Isaac. Middleton would be hoping to bring his efficient self and shoot a lot in this game, while also trying to attack inside.
His reliable defense should also be on display as he might be switched to Evan Fournier or Aaron Gordon.
Bucks Predicted Lineup
Donte DiVincenzo, Wesley Matthews, Khris Middleton, Ersan Ilyasova, Brook Lopez
Magic vs Bucks match prediction
The Bucks have shown their consistency this season, and reinforced that they don't easily fall against lower-seeded teams. They may be missing some of their starters, but the other Bucks players are more than capable of filling those shoes.
Unless they get extremely unlucky with their shot, this should be a win for the top-seeded Bucks.
Where to watch Magic vs Bucks?
The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Florida and FOX Sports Wisconsin. You can also catch the game via NBA League Pass.Published 28 Dec 2019, 15:38 IST