Milwaukee Bucks foil Orlando Magic, take series in 5 games
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 17 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 118-104 on Saturday to close out the Eastern Conference series in five games.
The Bucks advanced to face Miami in the second round, beginning Monday.
Chris Middleton added 21 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee. The Bucks had a 21-point lead trimmed to three in the fourth quarter before regaining control with the help of timely outside shooting by Marvin Williams.
Williams scored all 12 of his points on 3-pointers, and Brook Lopez added 16 points for Milwaukee, which won four straight after dropping the opener.
Nicola Vucevic had 22 points and 15 rebounds for Orlando, while Evan Fournier added 18 points.
Milwaukee led 74-53 when after Middleton’s 3 early in the second half and the Bucks still led by 20 with about three minutes left in the third quarter before Orlando suddenly pulled itself back into the game.
Consecutive 3s by Terrence Ross and Wes Iwindu, followed by D.J. Augustin’s floater, ignited a 24-7 run that saw the Magic cut it to 96-93 when Fournier hit a 3 with 7:37 to go.
The Bucks called timeout, starters checked back in, and Milwaukee quickly began to pull away again, starting with Williams’ 3 after Lopez’s offensive rebound.
Middleton followed with a fade from the top of the key, Williams added another 3 and Middleton’s free throw pushed the Bucks’ lead back to 105-93 with 5:24 left.
The game marked first NBA action since the Bucks refused to take the court for a playoff game Wednesday night in protest of the recent police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee’s boycott led to a pause in all NBA play for two days while players convened to consider abandoning the remainder of the season before ultimately deciding to resume the postseason.
Before tipoff, a moment of silence was held to honor former NBA player Clifford Robinson, long-time college basketball coach Lute Olson and Black actor Chadwick Boseman, who all passed away in the past few days.
Players and staff knelt, many with arms locked, as the national anthem played.
Milwaukee’s George Hill, who was among the catalysts for Wendesday’s boycott, could be seen on camera standing in a corridor near the locker rooms during the anthem before walking out to the court.
Orlando stayed close into the second quarter and was within six points when Marvin Williams’ 3 began a 23-12 Bucks run to end the half.
The spurt included Antetokounmpo’s left handed dribble down the lane for a driving one-handed dunk and his alley-oop dunk of Bledsoe’s lob. Middleton added two 3s, the second as he was fouled for a 4-point play that made it 67-50 at halftime.
Magic: Augustin finished with 15 points, Markelle Fultz added 14 points and Ross 13. … Shot 39.4 percent (37 of 94) overall and 36.6 percent (15 of 41) from 3-point range. … Has opened its past three playoff appearances with a victory before losing four straight each time.
Bucks: Outscored Orlando in the paint, 42-32 and finished with 16 3s on 45 attempts. … Shot 45.5 percent (40 of 88). … Have advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals in back-to-back seasons for first time since 1986-87.
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