Last season, the Orlando Magic stole game one from the Toronto Raptors. D.J. Augustin nailed the game-winning three with seconds remaining. However, the eventual NBA champions cruised through the next four games to advance.
One year later, the Magic are in the same position. They shocked the Milwaukee Bucks in game one, 122-110.
Enter game two. Orlando hopes to avoid losing four straight again, this time against the top seed in the East. On the other hand, the Bucks must turn it around after a slow start.
Vucevic, Magic look to stay hot
Nikola Vucevic turned in a stellar performance in game one with 35 points and 14 rebounds. Vucevic joined Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard and Tracy McGrady as the only players in franchise history with a 35/10 playoff game.
Also, Vucevic knocked down five three-pointers. The Magic scored the third-most threes (16) and second-most points (122) in team playoff history.
Vucevic had plenty of help. Gary Clark helped limit Giannis Antetekounmpo while adding four treys. Meanwhile, Markelle Fultz put up 15 points and Terrence Ross added 18 off the bench.
“Offensively, I thought we played one of our best games all year long,” Vucevic said. “But again, it’s just one game. We gotta move on from this one.”
Vucevic knows that his team does not have the best track record in recent playoff history. Still, he was impressed with how they kept their composure against a powerful Milwaukee team.
“We were very good at staying poised,” Vucevic said. “It is is something that we had issues [with] in the past.”
Bucks try to settle in
Overall, the Bucks have not looked like themselves lately. Milwaukee has dropped six of its nine games since the restart.
If this were a typical postseason, Milwaukee hosts the first two games of the series. In this situation though, the games happen to be in Orlando. The bubble environment is a challenge in itself.
“It’s difficult,” Antetokounmpo said. “There’s no fans to cheer you on and give you that extra juice — that extra energy — so you gotta do it by yourself.”
Antetokounmpo still managed a double-double with 31 points and 17 boards. However, Milwaukee did not shoot well (43.3%) as a team. According to Antetokounmpo, the Bucks need to set a tone, come out aggressive and make the Magic uncomfortable in game two.
The Bucks and Magic go head-to-head tonight in game two at 6 p.m.
Sound used in this story courtesy of ESPN and ABC Newscall.