The Milwaukee Bucks got off to a blistering start in the fourth quarter, and it helped put away the pesky Orlando Magic.
The Bucks looked nigh unstoppable in the 2020 regular season, as Mike Budenholzer’s high-octane offense led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee lead the league in points scored while ranking a respectable eighth in points allowed. After Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic drew blood first by stealing Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, Giannis and the Bucks knew it was time to buckle down and re-establish themselves.
Though the Magic trailed by just three points heading into the fourth quarter of Game 4, Milwaukee started the quarter off with an 18-2 run. The Bucks ended up with a 121-106 win that put them up three games to one over Orlando in their first-round series.
What else did you miss in Game 4 between the Bucks and Magic?
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo
While Khris Middleton deserves credit for turning things around in the fourth after laboring through most of this game, it was Giannis who was once again the main factor on both ends of the floor, piling up 31 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists. While Vucevic had his way inside to the tune of 31 points and 11 rebounds, Giannis made sure that perimeter threats like Evan Fournier fell silent during crunch time.
Today exhibited that even when Milwaukee’s threes are falling, they can still be challenged by an inferior foe. If he fails to perform at his usual superhero-like level night in and night out, Milwaukee could run into problems in the later rounds of the playoffs. Luckily for Milwaukee, Giannis had dug deep and found that MVP form that makes him the most unguardable player in the league when hot.
LVP: Evan Fournier
With eight minutes left in the game, Fournier had made just three of his 12 shots and scored just nine points before tacking on a few extra in garbage time. While Giannis taking on a solid Magic frontcourt is the matchup most will be watching, what could doom Orlando in this series and beyond is the lack of shooting and shot-creating that their backcourt outside of what Markelle Fultz can provide.
If Fournier struggles, which he did today against Milwaukee’s perimeter defense, there is almost no chance Orlando can be taken seriously as a threat in the East.
Turning Point: Putting George Hill in over Eric Bledsoe to start the 4th
If there had to be an LVP on the Bucks side of the boxscore, it would have to be Bledsoe, who made just three of his 11 shots and scored just six points on the afternoon. While Hill had just nine points and six assists in this game, he was much more concerned with distributing the ball to shooters rather than playing iso ball. This led to him having a plus/minus of +30 in the 23 minutes he was on the court. Bledsoe put up a -16 in 24 minutes.
While Bledsoe might not lose chunks of playing time as a result of this game, Budenholzer might be more inclined to switch to Hill given his ability to kick the ball out to shooters.