The Orlando Magic pulled off the biggest upset of the NBA postseason so far, as they defeated the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 122-110 in Game 1 on Tuesday afternoon. Nikola Vucevic led the way for Orlando with 35 points and 13 rebounds, but he also had plenty of help. Terrence Ross scored 18 points off of the bench, while Markelle Fultz and Gary Clark both added 15 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 31 points and 17 rebounds, but ultimately his production wasn’t enough to propel his team to a win. Milwaukee will need to re-calibrate and look to bounce back in Game 2 on Thursday.
Thanks largely to the play of Antetokounmpo, the Bucks secured the top seed in the East for a second straight season, and this year they will look to advance further than they did last year when they were knocked out in the Eastern Conference finals by the Toronto Raptors. For the Bucks, anything short of an NBA Finals berth this season would be considered a disappointment.
Orlando, on the other hand, will be looking to pull a major upset over the Bucks and in turn avoid a second straight first-round elimination. The series will be especially tough for the Magic since they will be without the services of a couple of their younger players in Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. Ultimately, the Magic will need to play near-perfect basketball if they hope to best the Bucks, and that’s certainly a tall task.
Here are three main takeaways from Orlando’s upset win over Milwaukee.
1. Where was Milwaukee’s defense?
The Bucks had the best defense during the season, but it sure didn’t look like it on Tuesday. Milwaukee gave up 122 total points against a typically middling offense in Orlando, and they allowed the Magic to shoot 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc. Numbers aside, things just looked too easy offensively for Orlando for long stretches of the game. They were able to penetrate to the rim with little resistance, and they had open opportunities from long range. The fact that Orlando was able to have so much success offensively without two double-digit contributors in Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac is even more of an indictment on Milwaukee. The Bucks will need to tighten things up moving forward.
2. Vucevic was the best player on the floor
Antetokounmpo was very solid for Milwaukee, but Vucevic was the best player on the floor on Tuesday. Vucevic did it all for Orlando as he provided the Magic with a post presence and a floor-spacer. His 35 points were a game-high, as were his five made 3-pointers. He also grabbed 14 rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end. In the process, Vucevic became just the third player in Magic history to record at least 33 points and 12 rebounds in a playoff game. The other two players are Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard; not bad company for Vucevic.
Overall it was a dominant performance from Vucevic, and the Magic will need some more performances like that from their big man if they want to pull off a major upset in this series.
3. Solid Magic postseason debut from Fultz
Markelle Fultz played in — and started — his first playoff game as a member of the Magic on Tuesday, and overall it went well. Fultz finished the game with 15 points, six assists, and two rebounds in 29 minutes of action, and he continues to look increasingly comfortable in Orlando’s system. This continued progression from Fultz is a solid sign for Orlando, as the young guard figures to be a big factor in the team’s success, this season and beyond.