Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic insisted he and teammates don't care what others think after stunning the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their first round playoff series. The eighth-seeded Magic pulled off a shock win in Game 1 as they beat the first-seeded Bucks 122-110 after Vucevic scored 35 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Before the series started, many had the Bucks sweeping the Magic in four games. "We don't care what other people have to say," Vucevic said, per the Associated Press. "We focus on ourselves and we came out and played a great game on both ends of the floor."
The Bucks are considered the top favorite to win the Eastern Conference and make the NBA Finals. "You have to really be ready for what they do," Vucevic said. "Especially us against a team like Milwaukee where we have to make sure we know their stuff and we are prepared for everything.
Tonight, we definitely were on top of that. We did a good job executing the game plan." But Vucevic says now it's time to focus on Game 2. "We came out with a huge victory," Vucevic said. "Again, it's just one game.
We've got to move on."
Vucevic admits finding ways to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo was the main goal
Antetokounmpo, the 2019 NBA MVP, scored 31 points, had 17 rebounds and seven assists but that wasn't enough for the Bucks to beat the Magic.
"Obviously, our main focus was try to make it hard on Giannis, to protect the paint," Vucevic said. "We did that as a team. Gary (Clark) did a great job fighting him and we were able to help." Antetokounmpo, the leading candidate for this year's NBA MVP award, didn't appear to too worried after the game.
"There's no magic wand to point and things are going to change," Antetokounmpo said. "You've got to come out, play hard, play even harder, play together and have fun." Antetokounmpo also gave credit to Vucevic for his outstanding performance.
"He played out of his mind," Antetokounmpo said of Vucevic. Magic coach Steve Clifford was thrilled with the performance Vucevic put in but he insisted he wasn't surprised by it. "He was just terrific," Clifford said.
"He's played very well down here. ... He made big play after big play today. But I'm not surprised. Because his preparation for this playoff series, and I think it will show, he's on top of things."