Antetokounmpo has 32 points and 20 rebounds, and tops the Bucks Magic
Milwaukee Giannis Antetokonmo scored 32 points and 20 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 117-108 on Saturday night to open a two-game set.
The teams will meet again Monday evening in Milwaukee.
Bobby Portis earned 24 points per season with 15 rebounds to help the Bucks win for the third time in a row and improve the score to 9-8. They crossed 0.500 for the first time since they were 3-2 on October 27.
“We are getting better. We are competing,” Antetokounmo said.
RJ Hampton had 19 points off the bench for Team Magic. Galen Suggs added 14, and Shuma Okeke and Michal Mulder added 13 each. Orlando lost for the fifth time in six games to fall to the Worst East 4-13.
Orlando played without lead scorer Cole Anthony, who sat down after injuring his right ankle in Friday night’s final game against the Nets in Brooklyn. The second-year player averages 19.6 points.
Milwaukee ran 18-2 in the first quarter to set the tone.
“We made it hard for ourselves when we got out of the gate,” Mulder said.
The Bucks seemed to go away for good at the start of Season 3 when Antetokounmpo and Portis were hooked up in 3s in a row. Antetokounmpo followed a twisty layup, Portis made another 3, and Khris Middleton hit a wing jump to give Milwaukee a 25-point advantage. The Bucks advance up to 29 in the quarter and carry a 96-71 margin heading into the 4th before the Magic rushes.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said, “That group that finished the game got kinda hot and stayed hot and played well. We could certainly play better but it happens. I wouldn’t try to overreact or make too much of it.”
The Bucks had to put off a late rise for the second game in a row after watching their 20-point lead against Oklahoma City dwindle the night before.
Portez said: “I think our team is kind of relaxed and thinks the game is over. A lot of these teams are playing hard until the last minute. We have to do a better job of cleaning up transitions and taking quality shots the whole length of the distance.”
Magic: Veteran guard Gary Harris started in Anthony’s place.
Bucks: F Semi Ojeleye sat with a sore right calf. … F Rodney Hood, who was dealing with pain in his right hamstring, was allowed to play just before game time.
Budenholzer said putting together a roster for a team battling injuries throughout the first part of the season was a challenge. “It’s part of training. It’s part of exercise. Some years you have good courses and you are very lucky and in other years you have to deal with some things. But trying to get people who are going to get them in and out together is like a daily mini-game of Sudoku or a crossword puzzle” .
Long for Lopez
Center Brooke Lopez, a key member of the Bucks’ championship team last season, only played in one of Milwaukee’s first 17 games, the season opener against Brooklyn, due to back pain. The reason for his prolonged absence is partly due to the slow start of the Bucks. We miss him, big time,” Budenholzer said. “Both ends of the court. His ability to spread the court and make it a triple. His ability to get offensive rebounds, score and score to paint. Defensive stuff is more accurate. He protects the edge. He communicates. He covers for his teammates. We see how important he is to us.”
In his first year of life, 43-year-old Magic coach Mosley was born in Milwaukee and spent most of his childhood in the city. The match was attended by a group of about 20 of Mosley’s family and friends. When Mosley was asked what he enjoyed about returning to Milwaukee for his first time as head coach, “Just being able to see my family and some of my best friends and back in the old neighborhood.”
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