In a matchup full of subplots, LeBron James became the story, lifting the Cavs to a 99-93 win over the Bucks with a familiar 41 points.
The Cavs jumped to an 8-0 lead but the Bucks stormed back into the game behind the youth movement of Ramon Sessions, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Joe Alexander in the second quarter, taking a 36-34 advantage. James slowly but surely and predictably took over throughout the rest of the game, propelling Cleveland to its fifth straight win and extending Milwaukee's losing streak to three games.
Richard Jefferson. Certainly not the small forward of the game, he played a solid, unspectacular, Jeffersonian game. The problem is that without Redd it takes a far more heroic effort from him to win a game like this one.
- Ramon Sessions. Ramon guided a troubled offense with some degree of confidence and direction. The point guard didn't turn the ball over for the second consecutive game. In fact, he was the only Buck not to turn the ball over at least once. Sessions helped push the Bucks back into the game in the second quarter before giving way to a hot Ridnour in the third.
Charlie Villanueva. CV spared the Bucks of a truly embarrassing first quarter by hitting for 10 points and four rebounds, including a tough fadeaway at the shot clock buzzer that finally got Milwaukee on the scoreboard more than three minutes into the game. Then he didn't scorer until late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 12/10/4, which on this mildly bizarre night places him here, and ties him for the team lead in assists.
- 16. That is the number of Buck assists and turnovers, not exactly sweet equality.
41... is fun for LeBron James, who scored that same number of points for the third time a week.
0. The Cavs had three different players who logged at least 20 minutes each who did not make a shot from the field: Ben Wallace (0-3), Wally Szczerbiak (0-3), and Daniel Gibons (0-8). Not only that, this terrific trio didn't score a single point. They do play with LeBron however. On a related note, they won.
- Free points and three points. Nine Bucks scored, and each and every one one of them got to the free throw line and converted at least once. On a night the Bucks couldn't shoot from the field (.380), they were at least smart and aggressive enough to get 26 points the easy way, hitting 26-31 (.839) from the line. Milwaukee also made three-point attempts worthwhile, nailing 7-16 (.438)
- On point. This wasn't anywhere near the best game we've seen from Sessions or Ridnour, but the point guard tandem shouldn't have many Milwaukeeans missing Mo. Ridnour recovered from an unbearably bad start by keying a 29-point third quarter for the Bucks. That came after Sessions orchestrated the team's comeback from an early double-digit deficit a quarter earlier. Meanwhile, Mo had a respectable 16 points and five dimes, and in a strange game fittingly attempted a ton of free throws, making 9-10. Really though, he seems to fit in better with LeBron James, and without so many point guard responsibilities.
Call it a comeback. Who would have guessed that after falling behind 0-8 the Bucks would battle back and go up 33-32? Or that after the Cavs took an 11-point lead early in the third that Milwaukee would steal a 69-66 lead before the fourth? Winning in Cleveland isn't easy. No one's done it yet this year. Realistically speaking, it was at least nice to see some fight in this young bunch.
- First, off. The Bucks, with the exception of Villanueva, came out with the shooting accuracy of Dick Cheney hunting quail, opening 1-9. Charlie Bell momentarily channeled his early-season "form" of last year en route to an 0-4 start less than seven minutes into the game. That begged even Michael Redd's most serious detractors to hope just a bit that number 22 would trade in the spiffy suits for a jersey soon. Milwaukee made just two field in the game's first seven and a half minutes.
- Bogut's malaise. The title is taken from Frank's pregame notes, which unfortunately holds as true after the game as it did before. Scott Skiles has been quick to banish Andrew Bogut to the bench with any hint of foul trouble, but somehow Bogut managed to accumulate his fifth foul midway through the third quarter. That was unfortunate because Bogut had just gotten going with a couple drunks in the minutes prior. Overall though, the seven-footers came up small. Those two dunks were his only field goals of the game, as he continues to show few signs of diversifying his offensive arsenal.
Shoot. 38.0 % from the field is an eyesore. Francisco Elson shot 2-3 from the field, but no one else hit a majority of shots on the Bucks. Delonte West, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, LeBron James, and Anderson Varejao all made most of their shots though.