The Orlando Magic return to the Amway Center after a brief three-game road trip that saw the club drop two out of three games.
Orlando defeated the Charlotte Hornets 112-100 this past Monday night. The 112 points marked the first time the Magic had eclipsed the century mark in their previous five contests.
Wednesday night, in their first game of the season televised by ESPN, the Magic dropped a tight contest to the Boston Celtics. Orlando was as close as down by only three points with nine minutes remaining, and down by just two possessions as late as five minutes left in the contest, before ultimately dropping the game 116-100.
And on the second night of a back-to-back, the Magic suffered a brutal loss to the lowly New York Knicks. After trailing by double-digits in the first quarter, Orlando rallied back to take a lead into the fourth quarter. However, New York caught fire in the game’s final period, topping the Magic 105-103.
It was a gutless loss that leaves the Magic at a crossroads in their season. And while it’s always nice to be home sleeping in your own bed, it won’t be a completely happy homecoming for the Magic Saturday as they welcome Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, owners of the best overall record in the NBA (44-7).
The Magic are 4-22 against teams with a winning record this season, two of those wins coming against the Philadelphia 76ers. For the most part, Orlando is beating the teams they are supposed to beat (with a few exceptions sprinkled in throughout the schedule). But getting those important wins against the elite teams in the league has proven to be exceptionally difficult for the Magic in ‘19-20.
Beating the Bucks will likely prove to be a monumental task for the home team. Milwaukee enters play Saturday night winners of 12 of their last 13 games, including a big victory Thursday night at home against Philadelphia.
Milwaukee leads the league in defensive rating, total points, pace, effective field goal percentage, opponent effective field goal percentage, two-point field goal percentage, defensive rebound percentage, and total rebounds. Yes, that’s all.
Saturday will mark the fourth and final meeting between the two teams. The Bucks defeated the Magic in early November at the Amway Center (by 32 points), and then defeated Orlando two more times in December (in Milwaukee).
Of course, Milwaukee is led by the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, Antetokounmpo. The four-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 30.1 points per game to go along with 13.2 rebounds per game and 5.8 assists.
The Magic are skidding as they approach the All-Star Break, now sitting a season-low eight games below .500 with three games remaining before next weekend’s break.
Can they shock the Bucks at home late Saturday afternoon? Will anyone be able to slow down the “Greek Freak”? The Magic must pick themselves up off the mat and face these extrmeemly difficult questions, they have no other choice than try to beat the best in the league in the final regular season meeting between the two clubs.
Who: Milwaukee Bucks (44-7) at Orlando Magic (22-30)
When: Saturday, February 8th, 5:00 PM EST
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL (Tickets)
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