David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Bucks won their fourth straight behind the hot hand of Monta Ellis (33 points), edging out Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers in Cleveland.
The Bucks may not be winning pretty, but they do keep winning.
Monta Ellis poured in a season-high 33 points (12/24 fg, 6 reb, 4 ast, 6 to) and outdueled the dynamic Kyrie Irving (26 pts, 9/23 fg, 6 to) to carry the Bucks early and late, dragging Milwaukee to its fourth straight win ahead of their Saturday night matchup with the Clippers in Milwaukee. The Bucks pulled ahead by double digits on numerous occasions but couldn't shake the Cavaliers, who turned it over an NBA season-high 27 times and came up empty down the stretch as the Bucks hung on for their ninth straight win over Cleveland.
With Brandon Jennings struggling with his shot (5/20 fg, 8 ast), the Bucks relied heavily on Ellis while also getting critical contributions from the front line, which helped seal the game by corralling a series of offensive boards down the stretch. Larry Sanders double-doubled (10 pts, 10 rebs, 3 blks), Luc Mbah a Moute stuffed the stat sheet (9 pts, 7 rebs, 6 ast, 4 stl) and Ersan Ilyasova was solid (11 pts, 8 rebs). Anderson Varejao was a monster on the boards as usual (18 rebs), but the Bucks' defense showed good discipline for most of the night and at least limited him offensively (8 pts on 9 shots).
Out of the playoffs just a week ago, the win moves the Bucks (12-9) back into a tie with Chicago for first place in the Central. Just 61 games left, people.
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