The Milwaukee Bucks was slow out of the blocks in its most recent outing before finding its footing en route to extending its winning streak to 15 games.
The NBA-leading Bucks will aim for a faster start on Wednesday night when they host the Orlando Magic.
Giannis Antetokounmpo collected 33 points and 15 rebounds in Milwaukee’s 118-104 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The two-time NBA MVP made 15 of 27 shots from the floor for the Bucks, who overcame a 15-point deficit by outscoring the Nets 66-42 in the second half.
“Sometimes when you’re down, it gets a little bit harder, you get frustrated,” Antetokounmpo told Bally Sports Milwaukee. “But at the end of the day as a team we kept our composure; we knew we have to be able to win games like this and come from behind. We kept our composure, we kept competing, we kept getting stops and we took care of the ball.”
Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton recorded 18 points and six assists off the bench and Jrue Holiday added 14 and eight, respectively. The Bucks’ current win streak is the fourth longest in franchise history and five shy of matching the 1970-71 club for top honors.
Milwaukee now returns home, where it has won 26 of 31 games -- including 10 in a row. The Bucks’ last loss at Fiserv Forum was 138-109 to the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 6.
Antetokounmpo recorded 34 points and 13 rebounds and Holiday chipped in 17 points, 10 assists and eight boards in Milwaukee’s 109-102 win over Orlando on Dec. 5.
Franz Wagner scored 25 points and rookie Paolo Banchero collected 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to pace the Magic in that game.
Banchero scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half of Orlando’s 101-93 victory at the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, highlighted by three mid-range jumpers and a pair of free throws in the final four minutes. He also set up Wagner’s floater to seal the win with 24.2 seconds remaining.
“(My teammates) trust me to make the right play. I don’t take that for granted. I take it seriously. I just want to win,” said Banchero, who averages a team-best 19.9 points per game.
Banchero also credited his team’s attention at the other end of the court. The Magic, after all, have held their opponent to under 110 points in eight of their past 12 games.
“That’s where it starts for our team -- it’s on the defensive end, trying to get stops,” Banchero said. “We’ve really been locked in the past month or so, trying to make it hard for teams. At the end of the day, what you need late in the games is lockdown defense. ... That’s been our mentality.”
Orlando could see the return of Jonathan Isaac to the lineup on Wednesday. Isaac is listed as questionable to face Milwaukee after sitting out the past two games due to a strained right hamstring.