Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks (May 11, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Mohamed Bamba and the Orlando Magic are trying to increase their activity defensively. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mohamed Bamba and the Orlando Magic are trying to increase their activity defensively. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic begin their final road trip of the season as they try to gain some value and score an upset on a difficult trip to conclude the season.

Orlando Magic (21-47) at Milwaukee Bucks (43-25)

Time/TV: 9 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: Bucks by 14
Tickets: $32-$645 on StubHub
2021 Season Series: Bucks 121, Magic 99 in Orlando on Jan. 11; Bucks 124, Magic 87 in Orlando on April 11; Tonight in Milwaukee

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR

OMD Prediction

The Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of a fight playoff positioning at the top of the Eastern Conference. But they might be the most secure in their spot as the 3-seed. The Bucks have not been as on point as they were the last two years. But some of that is Mike Budenholzer trying to prep his team for the playoffs. Their extreme drop coverage worked well in the regular season but failed them in the postseason. Milwaukee has spent the year trying to mix up their coverages.

But this is still a team that is all about Giannis Antetokounmpo. They have added some nice pieces to be grinders and shooters around him. But it all still revolves around Antetokounmpo and his ability to pressure the defense. That is just an area right now the Orlando Magic will have no ability to defend against. Power forward is the weakest part of the roster at the moment. If Antetokounmpo is playing, the Magic are going to have trouble.

100. 38. 118. 89. Prediction

3 Keys To Watch

Drive-in, kick out

The Milwaukee Bucks start with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nobody seems to have the ability to keep him out of the paint. But this is a team that does well to drive and kick. The Bucks are eighth in 3-point attempts per game and second in 3-point percentage. Milwaukee wants to get into the paint, suck up the defense and kick out to the 3-point line.

The Magic are going to have to find a way to defend the inside. Their defense since the trade deadline has not done well to defend the paint. Opponents average 49.8 points in the paint against Orlando. The team’s 3-point defense is not a whole lot better — giving up the eighth-most 3-point field goal attempts and the sixth-highest 3-point field goal percentage. This is the essence of the Bucks’ game. The Magic are just not in a good place defensively.

Wendell Carter’s return

The Orlando Magic have been struggling to put together a consistent center rotation with Wendell Carter out of the lineup. The team was already struggling to rebound and while Mohamed Bamba has put up some impressive individual numbers in his absence, the team was still struggling. Rebounding has been perhaps the biggest struggle for the team since the trade deadline.

Carter is not the best rebounder yet, but he certainly helps in that area. He is third on the team in defensive rebound rate (21.8 percent) and third in offensive rebound rate (9.1 percent). But more than that, Carter’s defense matters most. Among currently available starters, the team’s on-court 110.8 defensive rating with Carter on the court is the best on the team. Their -9.6 net rating is also the best on the team among currently available starters.

His return will make an impact for the Magic even if it makes the margins a bit closer.

R.J. Hampton’s run

The most pleasant development of the last few games has been watching R.J. Hampton put a lot of pieces together. Some of it has come in garbage time and so it deserves at least some grains of salt. But Hampton is still a young player blossoming and coming into his own. It is encouraging and exciting to watch, nonetheless.

Hampton is averaging 16.3 points per game and shooting 46.7-percent from the floor including 38.9-percent from three in his last six games. He is adding 4.5 assists per game against 1.3 turnovers per game. This suggests that his mistakes are fairly limited. This was one of the concerns when he first arrived because of his general lack of playing time.

Next. Orlando Magic's first rebuild starts at home. dark

The Magic then could be thinking about and looking to turn more point guard duties over to him. That would be an experiment worth taking in the last four games of the season now that he seems to have found some comfort and rhythm on the floor.