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Bucks’ Nikola Mirotic doubtful to play vs. Magic

Nikola Mirotic

The Milwaukee Bucks made a significant splash at the trade deadline on Thursday, acquiring big man Nikola Mirotic in a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.

However, Mirotic is doubtful to play in the Bucks’ game against the Orlando Magic on Saturday night due to a right calf strain, according to the team.

In 32 games with the Pelicans this season, Mirotic averaged 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds over 28.9 minutes per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the floor, 36.8 percent from three-point range and 84.2 percent from the free-throw line.

New Orleans originally acquired Mirotic in a midseason trade with the Chicago Bulls last season, and he went on to provide the Pels with a reliable floor-spacing big who played a significant role in their run to the second round of the playoffs last spring.

The 27-year-old was originally selected by the Bulls in the first round (23rd pick overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft.

He made his way over to the NBA for the 2014-15 campaign, playing in all 82 games and registering 10.2 points and 4.9 boards across 20.2 minutes a night while making 40.5 percent of his field-goal attempts, 31.6 percent of his long-distance tries and 80.3 percent of his foul shots.

Over his first three seasons in the NBA, Mirotic did not show much progression, but last year, the Serbian broke out, recording 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds through 27.2 minutes per game, connecting on 44.7 percent of his shots, 37.7 percent of his triples and 81.8 percent of his free throws.

The Bucks, who own the best record in the league at 41-13, will also be without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is nursing a sore knee, against the Magic.