“It’s just another manic monday.”
Or as the Bucks twitter account likes to call it, “magic monday”.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 10, 2014
The Milwaukee Bucks (12-50) enter into Monday night’s match up against the Orlando Magic (19-45) with at least some statistics on their side. In addition to the aforementioned two game Monday home winning streak, the home team in this series has won the last seven contests between the squads. Couple that with the disparity between Orlando’s home record versus their away record (15-16 vs. 4-29 respectively) and the Bucks would perhaps actually get the nod in an episode of ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie” (if they were relevant enough to be discussed even).
What can be said for certain about Monday’s match up, though? For starters, the Bucks and the Magic are developing into something that resembles a rivalry. There genuinely seems to be some bad blood between the two teams. Well, as much as there can be with two teams that dwell in the basement of the Eastern Conference. The origins of this rivalry can be traced back to February 21, 2013, a day that most avid Bucks fans look back on in disgust. That was the day that the Bucks traded Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih to the Magic for the former Duke star J.J. Reddick, Ish Smith, and Gustavo Ayon. The player that took this trade most personally was the Bucks former first round pick Tobias Harris. How do I know he took offense to being traded? His performance against the Bucks in their first meeting after the trade is pretty indicative of it.
Try and tell me that dunk to finish off the overtime victory for Harris and the Magic wasn’t a little personal.
Keys to Victory
The Merciless Trio: Bucks will need to slow down the trio of “Bucks Killers” that play for Orlando. Shooting guard Arron Afflalo, center Nikola Vucevic, and combo forward Tobias Harris have feasted on Milwaukee this year and last season as well. Afflalo lit up the Bucks for what was at the time a career high 36 points on 8-11 from three. Vucevic on the other hand, has averaged 19.7 points per game and 12.2 boards per contest in his last six games against the Bucks. As for Tobias Harris, the paragraph above hopefully does it justice.
Keep Orlando Under 100: The Bucks have not been short of offense lately, averaging 105.0 points per game in the month of March. What has been their problem for much of the season is defense. Keeping the Magic under the century mark should go a long ways in terms of the Bucks chances.
C — Nikola Vucevic
PF — Tobias Harris
SF — Moe Harkless
SG — Arron Afflalo
PG — Jameer Nelson
C — Zaza Pachulia
PF — Ersan Ilyasova
SF — Khris Middleton
SG — Nate Wolters
PG — Brandon Knight
– Victor Oladipo (ankle) – game time decision
– Carlos Delfino (post surgery) – OUT
– Larry Sanders (orbital bone fracture) – OUT
– Ekpe Udoh (right knee swelling) – Questionable