Nikola Vucevic finished with 35 points and 13 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic took command early and staved off the Milwaukee Bucks' repeated attempts at a comeback to stun the East top seed 122-110 in Game 1 of their first-round series on Tuesday (US time).
Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 31 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists for the Bucks (56-17), who entered the playoffs with the best regular-season record and drew an Orlando team (33-40) that had the worst record in this postseason.
It surely didn’t look that way this afternoon.
The Magic went on an 11-0 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game, 20-10, midway through the first quarter.
The Bucks sliced it to 20-19, but the Magic got it back up to 33-23 going into the second, before taking a 51-33 lead.
When Milwaukee threatened again 69-68 in the third, Vucevic hit a 3-pointer that keyed a run putting Orlando ahead 92-79.
After the Bucks came within 99-93, Orlando answered with a couple of Terrence Ross baskets and a DJ Augustin 3-pointer that extended the Magic’s lead to 106-93 with 6:19 left.
Milwaukee wouldn’t come closer than 10 points since.
Ross contributed 18 points off the bench, Markelle Fultz added 15, and Augustin had 11 points and 11 assists for Orlando, which beat a higher seed to open the playoffs for a second year in a row.
Last year, the Magic beat the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their first-round matchup before losing 4 straight. Toronto ended up winning the championship.
George Hill finished with 16 points for the Bucks, who got only 14 points (4-of-12 shooting from the field, 33%) from All-Star forward Khris Middleton.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).