The Bucks had plenty of chances to have a rare chance of their medicine tasting good tonight, but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. Khris Middleton came up short on a long two in regulation to send the Bucks back home on a high note and O.J. Mayo missed two wide open looks from deep that failed to tie the game up in the extra session, and the Bucks fell in Cleveland to the Cavs 114-111. The Bucks seemed pretty lethargic for 95 percent of the game, but they somehow managed to best or come out nearly even with the Cavs in every statistical category. So, what was the difference in the game?
The Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving. The Milwaukee Bucks do not.— Conrad Kaczmarek (@ConradKazNBA) December 21, 2013
Ah, yes. There it is.
The Bucks were led tonight by double-doubles from Brandon Knight (17p/14r(!)/8a) and John Henson (18p/10r). Knight was certainly less agonizing tonight, not turning the ball over in nearly 35 minutes, but he did shoot a miserable 6-20, which is a little disappointing considering how effective he was in the other aspects of his game tonight. Henson continues to impress, putting up consistently effective performances on both ends of the court. Unfortunately Henson had to leave the game late in the 4th when he tripped over his feet and crashed to the ground. Henson wasn't rolling around in pain by any means, but his left knee was definitely bothering him enough for him not to make an appearance in overtime.
Giannis Antetokounmpo made his second straight start, and followed that up with his second straight game in which his impact was limited due to his early foul trouble. It's good to see Giannis playing with a chip on his shoulder, but he can only use that chip to his advantage if he's on the court playing. With the returns of O.J. Mayo (who came off the bench tonight) and Caron Butler (near a return from a swollen knee) it will be interesting to see what role lies ahead for Giannis.
The Cavs were led by Irving, who dropped in 39 points to go along with six assists. He was especially useful in overtime, where he had 10 of his 39 despite nearly missing the game due to the flu.