The Milwaukee Bucks tried their damndest to toss this one away, but in the end they prevailed over Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 119-116. After one, the Bucks trailed Cleveland 34-30 when Giannis Antetokounmpo drew a shooting foul at halfcourt to end the period. That transitioned into a 69-58 lead at half for the Bucks, with a hot shooting quarter as Khris Middleton led all scorers with 17 points. With a comfortable cushion early in the fourth, Cleveland crashed Milwaukee’s party with a 19-0 run in the fourth to recover a 2-point lead. Despite nearly coughing this one away, Milwaukee held on to win 119-116 in the end.
On a night when Milwaukee sorely needed to wipe away the memories of a horrid 0-3 week, they pulled out a solid victory over one of the East’s top tier teams. Lebron has owned them for the most part since Milwaukee’s decisive victory early last season, but this was promising progress, particularly bouncing back from a near-loss towards the finish.
Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything short of literally carrying the entire team on his shoulders tonight, tallying 27 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists two steals and a block for the evening. His clutch layup with under ten seconds to go sealed this one away for Milwaukee.
Both Eric Bledsoe and Middleton did their part to push the Bucks boulder over the hill. Bledsoe ended with 26 points on a stellar 10-16 shooting night while Middleton passed up the scoring burden for 18 points but an impressive 10 assists including some nifty gives to John Henson in transition.
Lebron James, of course, led Cleveland with 39 points on just 22 shoots and seven assists to boot. Kevin Love added 21 points and 10 rebounds with Dwayne Wade putting up 14 points on an uncharacteristic 4-6 night from deep.
Stat that Stood Out
Milwaukee’s quick transition game hasn’t translated to a particularly quicker pace in relation to the rest of the league, but they made the aged Cavaliers look positively geriatric tonight in the fast break category. The Bucks ran up 24 points compared to just three for Lebron’s collection of wily veterans. Cleveland’s defense is putrid, but it’s always pleasant when Milwaukee can get easy buckets rather than rely on their staid offensive sets.