3 Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks narrow win over Orlando Magic

Dec 5, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday; Orlando Magic: Paolo Banchero
Dec 5, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks win at Orlando Magic: Defense is better

The Milwaukee Bucks allowed a season high 133 points to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, the Bucks have followed that up with two relatively solid nights defensively. The Bucks held Hornets scorers PJ Washington and Kelly Oubre to a combined 4-of-27 from the field. Monday night the Bucks were playing without their defensive anchor Brook Lopez, who sat out his first game of the season, who has been nothing short of fantastic defensively.

Without Brook Lopez the Bucks were presented with a challenge by the Orlando Magic who have a lot of front court players with size, the Wagner brothers, number one pick Paolo Banchero and Bol Bol, that starting lineup features four players about 6’9″ going all the way up to the surprisingly versatile 7’2″ Bol Bol.

That size presented the Bucks with a couple problems at times, Bobby Portis got into some foul trouble and with no Brook Lopez and still no Serge Ibaka, Sandro Mamukelashvili was thrust into a prominent role and he stepped up. Mamu finished second on the team to only Jrue Holiday at +17, a fantastic job well done by Sandro.

The previously mentioned Jrue Holiday drew a tough defensive matchup, the number one overall pick Paolo Banchero, at 6’10”, Jrue was the primary defender. Banchero did not have a comfortable night, despite finishing with 20 points, 12 of them came at the free throw line, Banchero was just 4-of-16 from the field and had a tough time getting around Bucks’ defenders. Banchero was stonewalled on the low block twice, once by Jrue Holiday who stole the ball from the rookie and drove down to the other end and found Pat Connaughton for a three, and once by Khris Middleton.

Khris Middleton has been underrated in the NBA for a long time, his scoring has been respected thanks to his contributions to the Milwaukee Bucks championship run. However, some aspects of his game are still underrated, his passing (see his 3/4 touchdown pass to Giannis) and his defense. As mentioned Khris was the other player that Paolo Banchero tried to back down on the block to no avail and ended up shooting a contested baseline jump shot that rimmed out. The other defensive play that Middleton needs credit for came against Bol Bol. Middleton was defending Bol just inside the 3-point line, Bol tried three separate times to dribble past Middleton and every time Bol made a move, Khris was there. Khris did a fantastic job staying in front of the crafty big man, defending without fouling, moving his feet and keeping his hands and arms free of a potential reach in foul, finally forcing Bol to give up the ball. Bol only scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting.

Finally, noted Bucks killer Terrence Ross was held in check this time, finishing 2-of-10 from the field, no doubt a welcomed sight for Bucks fans.

Next. 3 Takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks reserves win over Charlotte Hornets. dark

The Milwaukee Bucks are in action next at home against the Sacramento Kings.