It may have required the starters to play a bit later than one wanted, but on a shorthanded night, the Milwaukee Bucks took care of business over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 114-102. cAfter one, the Bucks picked up where they left off against the Cavs, notching a 27-16 lead. Giannis bounced back nicely in the first half too, going for 21 points as the Bucks tallied a 61-47 advantage. Cleveland mounted a second half surge that managed to get them back in the game, but the Bucks pulled away with a bevy of baskets late to secure the victory.
Following a difficult loss in Indiana featuring far less Giannis shots than we all would’ve liked, this seemed like the perfect antidote for him and this Bucks team. Without Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, Giannis picked up the slack with a monstrous (and career-high tying) 44 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists to lift his team over the hapless Cavs.
His dancing partners tonight were Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe, who added 19 and 16 points respectively. What’s most impressive about those numbers is the fact that they combined to go just 4-18 from deep, illustrating an impressive ability to attack Cleveland’s weakened interior defense.
For the Cavaliers, Jordan Clarkson was the one who helped keep them in it, scoring 23 points on a relatively inefficient 8-19 shooting performance. Rodney Hood helped him out with a bit more impressive display (7-14 from the floor) to tally up 19 points.
Stat that Stood Out
I could focus on Giannis’ mammoth night from the line (13-17) or the fact Milwaukee won by a considerable margin despite shooting only 29.3% from deep. Instead, I’ll pick some nits on a night when they faced a considerably worse team and point out Sterling Brown’s 0 minutes for the evening. Perhaps Bud felt it was a chance to rest him, and I’m sure we’ll hear some answers after the game, but seeing his goose egg while Jaylen Morris got 8 minutes of run was certainly a curious development. Particularly so given Brown’s improved play of late. Here’s the best guess for the moment, courtesy of Eric Nehm.