Coming off quite a heartbreaking loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Milwaukee Bucks had a chance to redeem themselves against the Orlando Magic.
Unfortunately, they’d have to try without Damian Lillard, who was out of the lineup for the second straight game due to calf soreness. It seems like the Bucks have been thrown off without their top point guard, as they’ve been all out of sorts throughout these two games, even more so than what they endured throughout the games with Lillard.
The Magic took control of the game early and never let up, building up a lead as large as 21 points. They tried chipping away, thanks to a strong effort from Giannis Antetokounmpo, but Milwaukee never came close enough to giving themselves a legitimate shot. They lost 112-97, dropping their second game in a row.
While it stings, there was a silver lining.
1 Silver lining from the Milwaukee Bucks’ ugly loss to Orlando Magic
The silver lining from this ugly loss was that Coach Adrian Griffin gave some of the younger Bucks more minutes than they would typically get. Fans have been clamoring for MarJon Beauchamp and Andre Jackson Jr., among others, to see more action, and they got extended run against Orlando as Coach Griffin went deep into his rotation.
Beauchamp has been hovering around 16 minutes per game this season, but he saw 20 in the loss to Orlando, the second most he’s gotten in 2023-24. He didn’t outright dazzle in those minutes, as he finished with five points and four rebounds on 2-of-7 shooting. Still, he’s young and needs all of the reps he can get. These growing pains will happen; all he can do is learn.
The other youngster everyone has been clamoring for is Jackson. He got 14 minutes vs. the Magic, the most he’s seen in any game this season. He didn’t stuff the stat sheet – scoring four points and grabbing three boards, but he still showed signs of potential. He knocked down what would have been his first career 3-pointer had his foot not been a tad out of bounds.
The Bucks need to play these two more because they clearly need to find answers on the wing defensively. Aside from Jae Crowder, Milwaukee is short on tall wing defenders, and these two could prove to be incredibly valuable in that regard. Even if they have some rough games with poor shooting or fouls, it will better them in the end.
Even other young players like A.J. Green and Chris Livingston saw action. Green scored three points in nine and a half minutes, while Livingston went scoreless in just under four minutes. Again, they didn’t turn too many heads, but it was nice to see them out there more than they might normally be as the typical rotation players struggled.
It’s great to see Griffin experiment by testing out what his young players may provide. In the past, Coach Mike Budenholzer oftentimes relied on his veterans until the very end, which many Bucks fans took displeasure with. That’s all water under the bridge now. It’ll be interesting to see how much the young guys stick in Griffin’s rotation moving forward, especially Beauchamp and AJJ.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.