Giannis Antetokounmpo and the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks got stuck in their own headlights as the Orlando Magic crushed them 122-110 in their opening-round game inside the pixie-dust protected NBA playoff bubble.
Giannis did everything that he could possibly do to help his team during the first 3 quarters of the game and then completely disappeared in the 4th quarter, scoring just 2 points. He finished the game with 31 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and had 7 assists in the game. While he was on the court for a good portion of the 4th quarter, he appeared to wander off into the forest in search of support from his teammates which he never received.
Khris Middleton only scored 14 points and his partner in crime Eric Bledsoe didn’t have a great game either as he ended the game with just 15 points. While the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic stole the show, dropping 35 points and grabbing 14 boards.
It’s not like the Bucks were playing the Raptors or the Clippers, so for them to get absolutely crushed by a depleted Orlando Magic team should immediately trigger concern for the Bucks who look like a completely different team inside the bubble.
The MIGHTY Line
The reality is Giannis is going to need to score more than 2 points in the 4th quarter and will need to get significantly more help from his supporting cast if the Bucks are going to win a championship.
Strategically the blueprint for beating the Bucks was first published last season when the Raptors showed the league how to shutdown Giannis in the post. If you can shutdown Giannis in the post and essentially build a wall around him, you can completely disrupt the Bucks offense which is what happened in the 4th quarter of their game against the Magic.
While I’m sure they will end up handling the Magic, this team isn’t going anywhere if Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe don’t each post 20 points a night. It’s as simple as that.