The Milwaukee Bucks may be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they have been far from the best team since the NBA season restarted. While they have not much to play for in Orlando so far, the Bucks have to find that win-now mode again with the playoffs finally here.
Milwaukee’s first test comes against the No. 8 Orlando Magic in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Game 1 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. The game will air on TNT.
Milwaukee (56-17) has gone 3-5 since the NBA resumed play after a 4 ½-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After losing only nine of their first 62 games this season, the Bucks have dropped eight of their last 11.
The Bucks’ recent slump lends some intrigue to what otherwise looks like a lopsided first-round playoff matchup with the Magic.
“As a team, they’ve done a lot of great work in the season to put ourselves in this position,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Now we’ve got some work to do. We’ve got to sharpen up. We’ve got to get better. But I have total faith and belief in this group, what they’ve done to date, how they work and how they’ve performed.”
The Bucks’ main concern at Disney has been making sure they enter the postseason healthy, and that’s something they’ve managed to do as they chase their first NBA title since 1971.
Orlando hasn’t been nearly as fortunate.
Magic forward Jonathan Isaac tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Aug. 3 after making it back from a knee injury earlier in the season. Orlando dropped five straight immediately after losing Isaac before beating New Orleans in its final seeding game.
Orlando has other injury issues as well. Aaron Gordon missed the Magic’s last four games with a strained left hamstring and Michael Carter-Williams missed five straight with a strained left foot. Mo Bamba is out for the season as he undergoes a post-coronavirus evaluation.
What: NBA Playoffs
Who: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic
When: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports
The Associated Press contributed to this report.