The Milwaukee Bucks couldn't topple the might Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in a week on Thursday -- but don't blame Giannis Antetokounmpo. With the Bucks playing their first regular season TNT game since 2002, Antetokounmpo delivered a career-high 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting despite Milwaukee falling 115-100 to the Cavaliers inside Quicken Loans Arena.
Antetokounmpo scored 12 of his 33 points in the first quarter after going 5-of-5 from the field, helping the Bucks stay within 28-23 after one. But the Cavs would respond by shooting 61 percent in the second quarter (59 at the half), with Kevin Love leading the way with 12 points during that frame, including two triples. Cleveland broke loose and at one point made their lead a 21-point cushion before having it cut down to 15 by halftime. You could see Cleveland moving the ball well (10 assists in the quarter), knocking down open shots, crashing the boards and not giving the Bucks much room for jumpers.
Greg Monroe and Khris Middleton each added eight points in the third quarter and helped the Bucks cut the Cavs' lead to five with under a minute to go in the quarter. Milwaukee outscored Cleveland 31-23 in the third after shooting a blazing 67 percent from the field, limiting turnovers (just one compared to five for the Cavs) and attacking the paint (14 points) to counteract a bashful night from the three point line (just 3/8 overall).
Playing the entire fourth, Antetokounmpo couldn't keep Milwaukee's hot shooting streak going even after adding 10 points himself. Six points from Jabari Parker were also nice (see below), but the Bucks got only five points from everybody else and the Cavs outrebounded them 13-6, hit more shots and forced them to commit 11 fouls.
Next up for the Bucks is a matchup in Indiana against the Pacers on Saturday.
— Giannis was coming off a season-low nine points on 3-of-13 shooting in Washington, and had averaged just 12.8 points the last five games heading into Thursday. He attacked the rim, dunked in the post, dunked after a spin, got to the line (a perfect 8-for-8) and was the only reliable offensive source for the Bucks.
— Jabari showed no ill effects from the sore foot that kept him out of Tuesday's loss in Washington, scoring a season-best 14 points in 30 minutes. After settling for a couple of early long twos, Parker was in attack mode the remainder of the game, using his quickness advantage to repeatedly take Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavs' slower front line off the dribble. Exhibit A:
— The Bucks were absolutely killed on the glass in this game (43-22), further solidifying their dead-last ranking in rebounding percentage (45.6) and total rebounds per game (38.6). At halftime, the Bucks had only grabbed ten rebounds as a team compared to the Cavs' 23. They've outrebounded their opponent just once this season on the offensive glass and once in total rebounds.
— Fun fact from TNT's game broadcast: This was the first time in four years all 15 players for the Bucks were healthy. Amazing how that's not all that shocking. Read more details about that stat here.
— Jason Kidd tried to get the bench unit involved early, but they weren't able to provide much of a boost. Jerryd Bayless once again was the only player to bring any sort of spark, but he scored just nine points. O.J. Mayo made his season debut, but only scored three points and his first basket didn't come until the final quarter. Those were the only points they got from their second unit, as Greivis Vasquez, John Henson and Johnny O'Bryant went scoreless in a combined 38 minutes.