Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks game preview
MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks will try to snap their three-game losing streak on Monday when they play host to the Orlando Magic at the Bradley Center.
To do that, they’ll need to play with the same energy and enthusiasm they showed Saturday night in front of a spirited sellout crowd during a 124-121 loss to the Warriors.
"We have to make this a habit, to give this effort in every game," said forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who led Milwaukee with 30 points. "We’re working on it.
"When you have a lot of fans watching the game and a lot of supporters, you get that energy. It would be good if a lot of people come and watched us play, because you feed off that."
Antetokounmpo, a 7-footer who was inserted into the point guard role late last season, has been playing center at times lately, when the Bucks look to go small.
"He does well," head coach Jason Kidd said. "He can play multiple positions. At seven feet tall, he gives you different options."
Kidd’s rotation has been a mystery over the last few games, especially the role of center Greg Monroe, who played a total of seven minutes during Milwaukee’s three-game skid.
Monroe said Kidd told him he wouldn’t play last week against Miami, but that was the extent of the conversation.
"He didn’t really give me an explanation; he just said he would be going with those guys," Monroe said. "He didn’t say there would be any changes. Go ask him. Of course, I want to play."
Kidd defended his decisions — including the one that left Mirza Teletovic on the bench for the first three quarters Saturday night — by saying here are only so many minutes to go around.
"We’re trying to give those guys (Mason Plumlee and John Henson) some confidence," Kidd said. "There’s going to be limited time to play three centers in today’s game. Small ball is big and sometimes the schedule doesn’t permit you to play three or four centers. Playing Giannis at center (in Milwaukee’s small lineup) has given us a spark.
"So, someone has to sit. That’s the nature of this business. This isn’t CYO, where everybody has to play. So, understanding that and being a pro. … Greg’s being a pro about it."
Since snapping their own three-game losing streak, the Magic have won two in a row and three of their last four contests, including a 95-87 decision over Dallas Saturday night in Orlando.
Backup point guard D.J. Augustin played a big role in that victory, scoring 18 points with six assists, and he was on the floor for the final 18 minutes as the Magic put the game away.
Signed to a four-year, $29 million contract over the summer, Augustin is performing well this season, averaging 9.9 points and 2.6 assists in 18.8 minutes, but has been a tentative shooter at times, including on Saturday night when head coach Frank Vogel had a few words with the nine-year veteran.
The message was simple: if the shot is there, take it.
It paid off. Augustin hit a pair of 3-pointers near the midpoint of the quarter and the Magic led the rest of the way.
"Having your coach’s confidence like that is a great feeling," Augustin told the Orlando Sentinel.
The Bucks won seven of the last eight meetings with the Magic in Milwaukee but split the season series a year ago.