Game Preview: Magic at Bucks

The Magic travel to picturesque Milwaukee, Wisconsin to take on the last place Milwaukee Bucks. This is the third and final meeting between the two clubs with the two teams splitting, each winning on their home court. Milwaukee leads the all-time series 40-29.

Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Friday, March 28th , 2008

Records: Orlando- 46-27, 1st place in the Southeast division; Milwaukee- 24-46, 5th place in the Central division. Orlando on the road- 23-13; Milwaukee at home- 18-17.

Milwaukee is led by left-handed sharpshooter Michael Redd, who averages 23.3 ppg. The Bucks have point guard Mo Williams, who scores 17.9 ppg., and dishes out 6.4 assists. 7 foot center Andrew Bogut scores at a rate of 13.7 ppg. while grabbing 9.6 rebounds per. The rest of the Bucks starting lineup is rounded out by forwards Bobby Simmons and Charlie Villanueva, who are similar types of players, both long-armed who can both shoot well from the outside.

The Bucks bench features guards Royal Ivey and Charlie Bell, to go along with the athletic Desmond Mason and budding star Yi Jianlian.

Statistically speaking
The Bucks are 22nd in the league in points scored (95.9 ppg.), 21st in field goal percentage (44.70%), 23rd in adjusted field goal percentage (48%), 25th in three point shooting (34%), 20th in free throw percentage (73.53%), 29th in field goal percentage allowed (47.41%), 22nd in opponents ppg. (102.4), 28th in opponents three point shooting (38%), 23rd in steals (6.5/gm.), 19th in turnovers (14.0/gm.), 21st in blocks (4.5/gm.), 21st in rebounding (41.2/gm.), and 19th in assists (21.0/gm.).

Here's how Orlando matches up:
6th scoring (104.5 ppg.), 5th FG % (47.31%), 2nd in adjusted FG% (53%), 4th three point shooting (39%), 24th FT% (72.53%), 9th FG% allowed (45.09%), 15th opponents scoring (99.9 ppg.), 16th opponents three point shooting (36%), 27th steals (6.2/gm.), 18th turnovers (14.0/gm.), 25th in blocks (4.1/gm.), 14th rebounding (42.1/gm.), and 22nd in assists (20.4/gm.).

What do the stats say? Milwaukee is a below average group that lacks effort on defense.

Best matchup for San Antonio:

Michael Redd vs. Maurice Evans - Redd is great at working off screens and he's a lethal outside shooter. The Bucks lefty should be able to drive past Evans and find open shooters or get to the basket. Redd has averaged 26 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in two games against the Magic this season.

Best matchup for Orlando:

Dwight Howard vs. Andrew Bogut - Bogut is too slow to handle Howard in the post, and the Magic big man should be able to control the glass. Howard has averaged 18 & 12.5 against the Bucks this season.

Keys to a Magic victory:
1. Play inside out. Orlando has a major advantage down low, and if Dwight Howard can throw effectively out of double teams, Orlando should have plenty of open three's.

2. Rebound, rebound, rebound. Orlando must keep the Bucks big men off the glass and limit their second chance opportunities. If the Magic are the more aggressive team, they should come out with the victory.

3. Play with intensity.
Milwaukee has been a very difficult place for the Magic over the years, and when they've struggled it's been due to slow starts. Orlando must come out with intensity if they would like to celebrate a division title in the land of cheese.

Final thoughts:
Orlando has dropped three of their last four and they haven't been getting the job done offensively. The Magic must get good shots and make their layups against one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. Milwaukee appears to be just playing out the string, but they seem to take pride in playing Orlando at home, as the Magic have won just 8 times in the cheese state in their 19 seasons.