|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CTNaN:� , February 9, 2019
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 17,812
Bucks eager to have Mirotic on court vs. Magic
The Milwaukee Bucks are hoping Nikola Mirotic can make his home debut Saturday night when his new team hosts the Orlando Magic.
Acquired at the trade deadline from New Orleans to beef up the Bucks' frontcourt and bench, Mirotic sat out Friday's 122-107 win at Dallas with a calf injury that's kept him out of the last eight games.
The injury is not considered serious, and he's been listed as questionable for Saturday.
The Bucks didn't need their new toy at Dallas, where Giannis Antetokounmpo led four starters in double figures with 29 points as Milwaukee was able to win a sixth straight while giving Khris Middleton a night off to rest on the front end of a back-to-back sequence.
Middleton is expected to face the Magic, which means that if Mirotic is healthy enough to join him, he likely would do so off the bench. The Bucks got just 33 points from six backups in the win over the Mavericks.
"I think depth is something we've been talking about recently, how positive our depth is, and now we feel like we're even deeper," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters before Friday's game. "And I think we're more versatile, and I think both those things are important as you go into the playoffs, and you have to be able to maybe play different ways and be comfortable playing different ways and confident."
The Bucks will be playing at home for the second and final time in a 10-game stretch that ends next Wednesday at Indiana. The Central Division leaders exploded for 148 points in a 19-point win over Washington in their only other home appearance in the stretch on Wednesday.
Milwaukee has dominated the Magic in two earlier meetings this season, winning 113-91 at home in October and 118-108 at Orlando in January.
The Magic has had a tough time corralling Antetokounmpo in the first two head-to-heads. He's averaged 23.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in those games, hitting 19 of his 29 shots.
Orlando hopes to have acquired someone who eventually will stand up to Antetokounmpo when they dealt Jonathan Simmons to the Philadelphia 76ers to get Markelle Fultz.
The No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft hasn't played since November because of nerve damage in his right shoulder.
The Magic have become convinced that his rehab is going well, and Fultz is expected to play again before season's end. Exactly when, nobody knows.
But Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman insisted Thursday night that he's convinced Orlando has added a foundation piece of its future.
"I can definitely say it's a high reward. There's no question that it's a high reward," Weltman demanded to reporters of his new player's potential. "Markelle Fultz was the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago, and it wasn't a fluke. I think the whole league had him there.
"So we believe that at 20 years old, the sky's the limit for him. And he's got all the ingredients, not just the physical abilities, to blossom."
Orlando had Friday night off, allowing the Magic to celebrate Thursday's 122-112 win over Minnesota, their third victory in the last four games.
The contest is the opener of a three-game trip for the Magic, who have lost their last three on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 9, 2019
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