|SI's Marty Burns' Breakdown|
|Orlando || ||Milwaukee |
| Andrew DeClercq averages just 3.9 points and 3.5 rebounds, but he's a 6-foot-10 banger who hacks, crashes the glass and generally makes himself a nuisance. He won't make Milwaukee pay for its lack of interior presence (he won't even play a lot of minutes), but he often will set an aggressive tone for his team.
|| CENTER |
| Though he's really more of a power forward, 6-foot-10 Scott Williams is one of the Bucks' unsung heroes, defending opposing centers, hitting the boards and knocking down open shots when needed. A three-time NBA champ with the Bulls, he knows about playoff basketball. He's also been playing his best ball down the stretch.
| Bo Outlaw and Tracy McGrady form a terrific frontcourt combination, especially defensively. McGrady blossomed this year into a true superstar, averaging 27.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, while showing himself capable of taking over at both ends. Outlaw is pure hustle, a 6-foot-8 dynamo who does all the little things -- except hit his free throws (just 53.7 percent this season).
|| FORWARDS |
| Glenn Robinson (22.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists) enjoyed perhaps his best all-around season this year. He even picked it up on the defensive end. However, the Big Dog has been inconsistent in past playoffs, something he can't afford against McGrady. The 6-foot-10 Mark Pope, a third-year pro from Kentucky, provides defense and rebounding. He'll start, but quickly give way to Jason Caffey and Ervin Johnson.
| Veteran point guard Darrell Armstrong is the Magic's high-energy guy and its catalyst, but he's coming off a strained groin that sidelined him five games late in the season. Mike Miller, a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, has done an admirable job filling in for the injured Grant Hill. He shot over 40 percent from 3-point range, but his lack of experience could be a factor.
|| GUARDS |
| Sam Cassell and Ray Allen form one of the NBA's top backcourts. Cassell (18.2 points, 7.6 assists) is an effective scorer and distributor who's not afraid to take a big shot. Allen (22.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists) is one of the game's best all-around guards and purest shooters. He should have a big series matched up against the rookie Miller. |
| Pat Garrity usually provides Orlando a mismatch off the bench, but the 6-foot-8 sharpshooter will find it difficult to get going against Milwaukee's 6-foot-10 Thomas. John Amaechi and Michael Doleac give the Magic two decent big men to rotate inside, though neither has the low post skills to take advantage of Milwaukee's lack of a true center. Monty Williams will have to step up if Miller falters or gets in foul trouble.
|| BENCH |
| Tim Thomas, Lindsey Hunter, Jason Caffey and Ervin Johnson form one of the league's most versatile benches. Thomas, a top Sixth Man candidate, averaged 12.6 points for the Bucks while hitting 41.2 percent from downtown. He's been nursing a sore right shoulder, but should be OK. Hunter provides deadly 3-point shooting. Caffey brings a low-post presence and finishing touch around the basket. Johnson is a big-time shot-blocker in the middle. |
| After winning last year's Coach of the Year award, Doc Rivers followed up with another terrific job this season. Despite losing Hill right at the start, he somehow coaxed the Magic to 43 wins and a playoff berth.
|| COACH |
| George Karl is one of the game's top coaches, as evidenced by his recent two-year $14 million contract extension. He led the Bucks to a 52-30 record this season and their first Central Division crown since '85-86. |
| Nobody's giving the Magic much of a chance, a fact Rivers will surely use to motivate his club. But after exceeding expectations just by making the playoffs, will Orlando already be satisfied?
|| INTANGIBLES |
| With nine consecutive victories over the Magic, including four this season, the Bucks should have plenty of confidence. After two straight first-round playoff exits, they also are determined to take the next step.
| Three-point shooting. With gunners like Armstrong, McGrady, Garrity and Miller, the Magic must do serious damage against the Bucks from beyond the arc. Milwaukee ranked a mediocre 15th in the NBA in defending the 3-pointer this season, so the opportunities could be there. || 'X' FACTOR |
| The Bucks must guard against overconfidence. They have never been favorites before and it might be hard for them not to look past the Magic, whom they have handled easily this season. If they blow a game early, the pressure could build and affect their shooting. |
|Burns' Prediction: Bucks in 4|