As the Bucks return back home to the BMO Harris Bradley Center tonight, much of the attention will shine down on the sidelines. Jason Kidd is expected to make his return after undergoing hip surgery. On the contrary, former Bucks coach Scott Skiles is returning home to his old stomping grounds, as he took the Bucks to a seven-game stanza with the Hawks in the 2009 playoffs.
In what has become the norm in the last handful of games, Khris Middleton is once again the player the opposing team will aim to keep in check. He has scored 20 points in his last six games. In his last ten games, Middleton has put up 22.9 points per game.
The Bucks and Magic have faced off only one time prior this season – a 114-90 Orlando win down in Florida. However, the Magic have been struggling mightily since the calendar turned, winning only one-of-nine games, including six straight losses. The Magic are coming off a blowing loss Monday when they folded in the final minutes and gave up a four-point lead in regulation before losing 108-102 at Memphis.
Much of the offensive capabilities of the Magic go through the big man down low, Nikola Vucevic. After putting up 16 points and 14 rebounds Monday night in Memphis, he stretched his consecutive double double streak to five straight.
One thing that the Bucks can do to make an impact on the game? Be forceful on defense. In both of their last two contests, the Magic have turned the ball over 19 times. With the right level of intensity, the Bucks can prevent much damage from their opponent. However, it’s unforeseen if they can accomplish the task without fouling too frequently.
Victor Oladipo has also been held in check in his last game out, going only one-of-ten shooting from the field. The Bucks cannot afford to let him get loose or it will be a tough game to crawl back into.
Elfrid Payton was one of the major keys the Magic dominated the Bucks in their prior meeting this season. The Orlando point guard showed an efficiency of both getting to the hoop and scoring while also getting the defense to sag and expose holes in the system. The Bucks must cut off the source to either his scoring or his passing. If he can attack Milwaukee with both offensive facets, there’s a high chance the Bucks are outmatched at the one slot.