Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 2 Preview
Date: Thursday, August 20, 2020
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Location: THE FIELD HOUSE, Orlando, FL
TV: FOX Sports Florida / ESPN
Mobile: FOX Sports GO
Radio: 96.9 FM the Game / 98.1 SALSA Y MAS
ORLANDO -- “We all believe.”
That was the message from Orlando Magic point guard Markelle Fultz during his walk-off interview as the team heads into Game 2 against the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, with a victory under their belt.
Confidence is certainly an essential ingredient to pulling off what would amount to a stunning series upset. But of equal importance for the Magic will be continuing to execute the game plan with the same level of energy and efficiency as they put forth in Game 1 throughout the course of their first-round matchup.
“We have to come with the same focus, we have to compete at a high level because they’re going to give us their best,” Magic forward James Ennis said. “So, we just have to be prepared for war. I feel like all our guys are really focused and really hungry.”
The Magic were able to limit the Bucks in transition (holding them to 10 fastbreak points), capitalize on turnovers (scoring 25 points off Milwaukee giveaways), knock down open threes (shooting 39 percent from distance), and move the ball with purpose and precision (dishing out 29 assists) in the series opener. All of those areas were points of emphasis heading into the contest and will be pivotal aspects of Game 2.
“The approach has to remain the same,” Evan Fournier said. “The focus to details and to the game plan was really good. Obviously, Game 2 is going to be different, we experienced that last year, so we can’t make the same mistakes.”
Among the areas that Orlando would like to improve upon heading into Game 2 are limiting its number of turnovers – the Magic committed 16 of them – and cutting down the number of fouls – 26 overall.
“The worst thing you can do defensively is put somebody at the free throw line,” Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford said. “That was a point of emphasis today and we’re going to have to do better with that.”
In and Out: The Magic listed Aaron Gordon (strained left hamstring) as questionable for the team’s second contest against the Bucks and Michael Carter-Williams (strained tendon, left foot) as doubtful.
MCW did workouts on the floor after Orlando’s practice on Wednesday and Gordon participated in two-on-two drills following the morning session.
Key Quote: “I came out with an aggressive mindset, coach wanted me to be aggressive and take on that role and I want to do that. I’m glad I was able to start the series off well. (But it’s time) to move on from this game and get ready for next game.” – Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who will attempt to build on his playoff career-high 35-point performance.
Rivals Report: Despite doing an admirable job defending Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 1, the perennial MVP candidate still amassed 31 points and 17 rebounds. The Magic did a solid job of building a wall to cut off the Greek Freak’s path to the basket where he’s the most dangerous, but still allowed him to attempt nine free throws, a number that Clifford would like to cut down in Game 2.
Ennis and Fournier did a tremendous job in limiting Khris Middleton, who committed four turnovers and was held to a 4-for-12 performance from the floor. In order for the Magic to continue to have success in their first-round series, they’ll need to avoid allowing Milwaukee’s other All-Star forward to have any stellar showings.
“He’s a great scorer, so our biggest thing is to make everything tough for him and show him that we’re here and we’re ready to take on the challenge,” Ennis said. “That’s what it comes down to, competing at a high level.”
Among the areas that Milwaukee would like to improve in Game 2 is defending the ball with more diligence. Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer felt that Orlando got to any spot it wanted to on the floor and believes that his team needs to do a better job of forcing the Magic to go to their second and third options more frequently.
“You have to credit Orlando, they came out and they kicked our (butt) at every level,” Milwaukee shooting guard Wesley Matthews said. “We’ve got to be better at every level of the game. We’ve got to assert ourselves (and) we‘ve got to be more aggressive on both ends of the court.”