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Milwaukee 123, Orlando 91: Bucks dominate the Magic, do it in a variety of ways

From deep, in the paint, on the break - the Bucks did it all against the Magic Friday

Milwaukee Bucks v Orlando Magic Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half as the Bucks ran over the Magic Friday night, dominating the home club en route to a 123-91 win. The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player also pulled down 14 rebounds and dished out six assists.

Milwaukee enjoyed an advantage over Orlando in every statistical category across the board. The Bucks shot an efficient 50.5% from the field to Orlando’s 37%; 17 three-point makes to Orlando’s 12; 58 total rebounds to Orlando’s 41; 54 points in the paint to Orlando’s 32.

And probably most noticeable is the fact that the Bucks outscored the Magic 36-2 in fast-break points.

“We gave up 36 fast-break points when it was the (first), the biggest emphasis this morning,” Coach Clifford said during his post-game conference. “And the second-biggest emphasis was the three-point game, of which they were wide open. Wide open.”

The Magic jumped on the Bucks early, scoring 20 of the game’s first 27 points. Evan Fournier led the charge, scoring ten points in the game’s first six minutes.

However, Orlando’s lead was short-lived as Milwaukee caught fire from behind the arc. The Bucks, who rank second in the NBA in three-point makes, knocked down eight three’s in the game’s opening period.

The Magic connected on 9 of their first 12 attempts from the field, but went ice cold from there - missing 12 of their next 13 attempts.

An early second quarter Donte DiVincenzo three-pointer (he finished with 14 points) from the top of the key put Milwaukee up by double-digits, and the onslaught just continued from there.

Coach Clifford called a timeout with just over 8 minutes remaining in the first half to try and slow down what at that point was a 32-7 Milwaukee run.

The ball movement Orlando was displaying early in the game had completely disappeared by the end of the first quarter. Orlando’s offense looked completely disjointed for most of the first half. Every pass made was contested, entry-passes weren’t clean, shots were missed in the paint, the ball was dribbled into traps.

It was all bad.

“We just played soft,” Aaron Gordon said bluntly in front of his locker after Friday night’s game. “They were getting whatever they wanted - driving down lanes, knocking down three’s - we played soft.”

Milwaukee broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the Magic 31-14 in the period. Eight different Bucks players knocked-down at least one “three” in the first half.

The Magic were very fortunate that the Bucks cooled off in a big way in the third quarter. After starting the game 11 for 22 from the three-point range, the Bucks made just 1 of their next 14 attempts.

Orlando modestly cut into Milwaukee’s halftime lead despite forward Jonathan Isaac briefly leaving the game due to injury in the third quarter.

Isaac took an awkward fall, apparently slipping on a wet spot on the floor, and departed for the Magic locker room before reappearing towards the end of the third quarter. The third-year forward spent some time on the stationary bike before re-entering the game for the final period of the contest.

The Magic looked like they were going to make a game of it for a brief moment, cutting Milwaukee’s once significant lead down to 15 points.

But that would be as close as they would get. The Bucks immediately broke off a game-deciding 11-0 run, with seven of those points coming from Antetokounmpo.

Coach Clifford’s post-game conference was extremely short and sweet after Friday night’s game.

“The people most responsible for how hard a team plays every night is the head coach and the best players,” Clifford said. “That’s how it works in the NBA, nobody else. The head coach and the best players.”

“Hopefully we’ll all do better tomorrow, starting with me...and the best players. We’ll see if we can do better.”

“That’s the good (and bad) thing about the NBA,” Nikola Vucevic added in the locker room. “For us in this situation, it’s good that we can respond tomorrow right away. We have another great team coming in, a team that was the best (team) in the West last year in the regular season. It’s on us to respond.”

Fournier led the Magic with 19 points (7-12 FGA’s, 4-8 3PTA’s).

The Magic must have a short memory, because they’re back on their home floor tomorrow night hosting the Denver Nuggets.