With Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup, the Milwaukee Bucks are clearly one of the best teams in the NBA. After how Saturday night’s game with the Orlando Magic played out, it is safe to say they are far from the best when he is not in the lineup.
Antetokounmpo sat the game out because of some soreness in his right knee, and his absence was evident from the start. Milwaukee got off on the right foot and took an early 8-0 lead, but things quickly turned. The Magic answered the Bucks run with a 20-4 run and took a 20-19 lead after the first quarter.
Things never really got better for the Bucks. The Magic extended their lead early in the second and stretched it out to ten by halftime, 59-49. While their defense picked up and held the Magic to just 20 in the third, their offense continued to falter—and they only scored 15.
🗣 J O N A T H A N I S A A C pic.twitter.com/5O209nsMZ5
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) February 10, 2019
It went from bad to worse in the fourth as the Magic defense continued to dominate the Bucks. Orlando led by as much as 25 before settling for a 20-point win, 103-83.
“Obviously, without Giannis, it is a different team. He is a huge part because he brings so much attention,” Orlando center Nikola Vucevic said after the game (ESPN).
Bucks forward Khris Middleton gave credit where he felt it was due after the game:
“They played hard; they hit shots. They made us uncomfortable.”
Jonathan Isaac led the way for the Magic with 17 points followed by Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic with 15 points each. Vucevic also added 17 rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe led the way for the Bucks with 19 points and 11 rebounds followed by Malcolm Brogdon with 14 points. Khris Middleton chipped in a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bucks have given Antetokounmpo a night off to rest his knee before, but he has never sat out in back-to-back games. So, while the team has not indicated whether he’ll play Monday against the Chicago Bulls chances are that he will.
Orlando will not have long to enjoy their 24th win of the season. They face off with the Hawks Sunday night in Atlanta.