The Orlando Magic will head to the Fiserv Forum as they get set to take on the Milwaukee Bucks in an Eastern Conference battle on Saturday evening.
Milwaukee suddenly has the best record in the NBA after pulling off yet another road win on Friday night. The Bucks come in with a 41-13 mark through their first 54 games, while the Magic come in with a 23-32 overall record, which leaves them slotted in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Can the Bucks continue their momentum on the second night of a back-to-back versus the Magic on Saturday night?
Magic deal for Fultz
Orlando won for the third time in four games on Thursday night behind a big game from swingman Terrence Ross, who finished with 32 points and came up wit a big defensive play to help the Magic escape with a 122-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Aaron Gordon finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five dimes on the night.
The Magic pulled the trigger on a controversial deal at the trade deadline, acquiring enigmatic No.1-overall pick Markelle Fultz from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Jonathan Simmons, a first-round pick (via OKC) and a second-round pick. Fultz, who has seemingly come down with a case of the yips since being drafted, disappeared from the 76ers following the Jimmy Butler deal earlier this season, citing a mysterious shoulder injury. Despite getting a fresh start in Orlando, the former-No.1 overall pick may not return to the floor before the end of the season.
The Magic come in scoring 105.7 points per 100 possessions (24th in the NBA), while allowing 108.8 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (15th in the NBA). They also rank 25th in the NBA with a net rating of -3.1.
Bucks suddenly own best record in the NBA
The Bucks took care of business on Friday night, dismantling the Dallas Mavericks 122-107 to earn their sixth straight victory and their 19th win over their past 22 games. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and added 17 rebounds on the night, while manhandling the Mavs with several rim-rattling dunks and easy layups. Brook Lopez added 20 for the Bucks, who have surged to the best record in the NBA following a pair of six-game winning streaks. Eighty of Milwaukee’s 122 points came in the painted area.
Antetokounmpo continues to separate himself from the pack in the MVP race. The Bucks’ star comes in averaging 27.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. If Milwaukee secures the best record in the league or even the Eastern Conference, the Greek Freak should have a legitimate shot at bringing home his first NBA MVP at age 24.
Milwaukee continues to rank among the best statistical teams in the NBA. They are scoring a healthy 113.8 points per 100 possessions for the season (3rd in the NBA), while sporting the best defensive rating in basketball at 103.8. The Bucks also sport the best net rating in the NBA at +10.0 points per 100 possessions.
- Bucks are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- Bucks are 17-5-2 ATS in their last 24 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Bucks are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
- Magic are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games.
- Magic are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Magic are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600