Orlando Magic Playoffs View from the Other Side: Milwaukee Bucks moving on

Marvin Williams' key shots in the fourth quarter ended the Orlando Magic's hopes of upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Marvin Williams' key shots in the fourth quarter ended the Orlando Magic's hopes of upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks are moving on to the second round. Their depth and their star power proved too much for the Orlando Magic to fight off.

104. 38. 118. 89. Final

It has been an emotional and heavy few days for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Last week, the shooting of Jacob Blake weighed heavily on them. Another Black man shot in the back by police in a seemingly senseless rerun of violence. The protests — and the further murder of protestors by a white teenager — have followed a similar cycle.

There is a lot of anger and frustration in Wisconsin and within the Bucks. Their hometown was under some attack. They were torn apart by their community’s pain.

Everyone needed to take a step back and breathe a bit. The onslaught of games inside the campus was wearing on players. And this event hit home for many of them.

The walk-out was very much about the Bucks sending a message that they were not happy with how the world was responding to their play. They wanted social justice messages to sink in with the public. Depriving them of games forced everyone to have that conversation.

That was always the start of the action.

It was unclear whether the NBA would resume. Some of the top teams were torn and they were going to exercise power to demand change. They appear to have gotten it, at least on a small scale or a beginning scale with more focus on using NBA resources to promote voting and civic engagement.

More seems on the way.

Eventually, they would have to get back to basketball. The players agreed to return Saturday. But for the Bucks especially, it still seemed odd.

The aura for Game 5 was off. Both teams were sloppy at the beginning of the game and it definitely seemed like both the Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks needed to ease themselves into it.

The Bucks eventually did, building as much as a 23-point lead before holding on and holding off the Magic. Orlando cut the lead to three with about seven and a half minutes to play. Giannis Antetokounmpo was on the bench with five fouls and the game hung somewhat in the balance.

Then Marvin Williams and Khris Middleton shut the door. The Magic ran out of gas and the Bucks advanced with a 118-104 win in Game 5.

Orlando will be able to point to a lot of contributing causes to its defeat. Giannis Antetokounmpo was at the top of that list, of course. The team had no answers for him.

Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks /

Milwaukee Bucks

The Magic did not help themselves with poor rebounding at key moments — the two offensive rebounds that led to a Williams three and a six-point deficit stands out — and with turnovers. Orlando constantly had to adjust to Milwaukee’s defensive pressure and play catch-up.

But the final indignity was the Bucks’ depth. It felt like every game, Milwaukee had someone new off its bench make a contributing factor to tip the game. Whether it was Donte DiVincenzo’s rebounds and work rate in Game 2 or Pat Connaughton’s hustle in Game 3.

In Games 4 and 5, it was Williams. He killed the Magic in the fourth quarter, stretching Nikola Vucevic out of the paint as a small-ball center while holding his own defensively. The Magic could not take advantage of the mismatch and Williams’ 3-point shooting proved a huge difference in the end.

"“Doing all of that while supplying his brand of sturdy and dependable defense and it’s fair to say Williams has taken things up a notch with his play into the playoffs,” Jordan Treske of Behind the Buck Pass writes. “After all, the former Tar Heel finished with the best net rating (+21.7) of all Bucks players who played in the first-round series with the Magic, per NBA.com/stats.“All in all, Williams posted 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting (4-for-5 from three), seven boards, a block and was the lone Bucks bench player to finish with a positive plus-minus on the day at +8 over his 22 minutes of run.”"

Those contributions are vital to any team taking a title run and winning the series. The Magic never were able to get consistent secondary contributions off their bench. The Magic needed consistent shooting from Gary Clark, and they could not get it — his four 3-pointers in Games 1 and 4 were major contributing factors.

For sure, the Bucks are going to have to rethink and shorten their rotations some for their next matchup. The Miami Heat are going to be an entirely different challenge. And the Magic may have exposed some issues the Bucks will face — the Magic were just too shorthanded to put up more than the five-game fight they did.

And so the Magic exited the playoffs. They put up a fight. Even Giannis Antetokounmpo recognized how hard the Magic played and the battle they had to advance.

The Magic put up a fight. Coach Steve Clifford said after the game he was proud of his team’s effort. They showed growth and maturity following last year’s similarly quick playoff exit.

But the Bucks are moving on. Ultimately they were the better team and better able to execute in the Playoff crucible.

Orlando is Gone Fishin’.


Next. Aaron Gordon's frustrating season ends. dark

That will do it for the season as the Magic move on to their important offseason.