MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are the favorites in this series, and some say it’s not even going to be close.
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Key Team Stats
(1) Bucks – 1st in points per game (118.8); 1st in rebounds per game (57.8); 1st in defensive rating (102.8); 3rd in blocks per game (5.9)
(8) Magic – 5th in allowed opponent points per game (108.0); 7th in steals per game (8.2); 7th in blocks per game (5.5)
(1) Bucks– none
(8) Magic– Mo Bamba (Illness), Jonathan Isaac (Knee)
Magic can’t handle the Greek Freak
Copyright: Kim Klement
Giannis, as we all know it, is a top 3 finalist for the MVP race this season. As far as the Bucks’ season sweep against their first-round match-up is concerned, the Magic can’t contain him. The Greek Freak normed a near triple-double against Orlando this season, putting up 26.3 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 7.7 assists.
Also, a footnote concern for the underdogs is the loss of Jonathan Isaac for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury. Isaac could be the Magic’s best chance at guarding Antetokounmpo throughout the series. Well now that’s Aaron Gordon’s job. Just imagine, your team’s second-best player guarding perhaps the best player in the league who managed to draw a total of 306 shooting fouls this season. Looks like Magic head coach Steve Clifford has a lot of planning to do.
3 Words: Depth, Experience, Coaching
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Bucks, as compared to the Magic, are a Titan right now. The best team in the league has edged out Orlando in all spheres. They have a deep line-up, and four experienced-wise players in with George Hill, Kyle Korver, and the Lopez brothers. These two factors alone would dismantle the young, inexperienced Magic squad.
And in terms of coaching, the reigning Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer would easily snag the chess match against Clifford because of his well-conditioned pieces.
Not totally gonna be a snoozer
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Clifford has always found a way to make the most of his players, and Nikola Vucevic’s excellent inside-outside game should make the games interesting. But even though the contests could be close in the first three quarters, Giannis and the Bucks will make sure that they will come out firing from all cylinders when it matters the most in regulation.
Prediction: Series will be over in five games, in favor of the Bucks
This series can surely give you showmanship highlights from both camps, but again the young core of Orlando may easily crumple against the titans of Milwaukee. I have Orlando winning one game (either one or two) but it’s all Bucks from there on.