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Bucks vs. Cavaliers Final Score: Bucks win big over depleted Cavs

No LeBron James or Kevin Love turned out to be a big problem for Cleveland.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

It's not often we get to say the Bucks took apart a team that just isn't on their level talent-wise, but when LeBron James and Kevin Love sit, the Cleveland Cavaliers certainly qualify for that distinction. And take them apart Milwaukee did, smacking the depleted Cavs 96-80 in Cleveland.

Defense was the key to victory for Milwaukee. The Bucks held the Cavs to 34.1% shooting overall and 25.8 from three. Kyrie Irving scored 25 points but shot just 9-23 from the floor (1-7 3PT). Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 13 rebounds but also struggled with his shot (3-11 FG).

Brandon Knight led the way for Milwaukee with 26 points on 11-19 shooting (4-9 3PT). Giannis Antetokounmpo played a very strong all-around game, tallying 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. The 8 boards tied for the team high while the 5 dimes were a game-high mark. Giannis did a fair share of his damage as the primary offensive initiator, a positive sight after a few uninspiring performances of late.

Larry Sanders missed his fourth straight game with an illness and will be examined in Milwaukee on Thursday. Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) and Jerryd Bayless (left knee) also missed the game, offering a bit more time for John Henson and the Ghost of Nate Wolters. Henson had 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in 25 minutes while Wolters rang up 4 points and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes.

The Bucks bombed away on the Cavs from behind the arc. Adding to Knight's 4-9 were Khris Middleton (2-5), O.J. Mayo (3-6), Giannis (1-3), and Jared Dudey (1-2). The 11 made threes were the third-highest count for the Bucks this season.

Milwaukee now heads home for a matchup with the Indiana Pacers on Friday. The Pacers beat the Miami Heat 106-95 on Wednesday night.