The underdog put a lot of pressure on the best defensive team in the league
Nikola Vucevic had a great performance with 35 points, 14 rebounds and four assists (was 15-of-24 from the field and 5-of-8 from the perimeter) and DJ Augustin added 11 points and 11 assists as him and Markelle Fultz did a great job creating shots for their teammates, pushing high with the ball and dishing it to the open player. Magic put a lot of energy in the game and shot efficiently 49.4% from the field and 39% from the perimeter in their victory 122–110 over the Milwaukee Bucks to lead the series 1–0.
Terrence Ross scored 18 points, Gary Clark added 15 points, six rebounds and four threes. Markelle Fultz had 15 points, two rebounds and six assists.
“We don’t care what other people have to say,” Vucevic said. “We focus on ourselves and we came out and played a great game on both ends of the floor.”
“You have to really be ready for what they do,” Vucevic said. “Especially us against a team like Milwaukee where we have to make sure we know their stuff and we are prepared for everything. Tonight, we definitely were on top of that. We did a good job executing the game plan.”
“Obviously, our main focus was try to make it hard on Giannis, to protect the paint,” Vucevic said. “We did that as a team. Gary (Clark) did a great job fighting him and we were able to help.”
Evan Fournier couldn’t do anything in his first 31 minutes and in the fourth quarter got 9 critical points during the last five minutes of the game and Magic erased every possibility of Bucks making a late comeback. Fournier averaged 20.5 points per game, 2.3 assists and shot 50% from the perimeter and 45.8% from the field this season against the Bucks. In Game 2 he will have to match these stats to aid Magic to capture a 2–0 lead over the title contenders Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee. George Hill notched up 16 points, two rebounds and five assists coming off the bench, while Eric Bledsoe had 15 points and Khris Middleton had 14 points.
“There’s no magic wand to point and things are going to change,” Antetokounmpo said. “You’ve got to come out, play hard, play even harder, play together and have fun.”
Bucks will have to defend the ball in the perimeter, communicate better when players switch and bigs will have to screen better and shoot better if the Bucks want to win this series. Their players coming off the bench will have to contribute more especially offensively. From the other side, Magic will have to keep playing at the same pace, pushing the ball high and challenge the Bucks to either foul them or let them attempt three-point shots as we saw yesterday in Game 1.
Next game is on Thursday.