The Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton-less Milwaukee Bucks picked up a 114-102 victory over the Matthew Dellavedova led Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at the Quicken Loans Arena. Going up against one of the worst teams in basketball, the Bucks looked a bit sluggish throughout and lacked the ability to close out the Cavs last night. Those pesky Delly led Cavs, I tell ya.
Without Giannis Antetokounmpo and his herculean effort, the Bucks
probably would have lost which is sad to ponder. He tied his career-high with 44 points and also added 14 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 blocked shots in 38 minutes. More impressive, however, was the fact that he made 14-of-19 shots (without attempting a three) from the floor and went to three free-throw line 21 times whole converting on 16 of them. Giannis looked offended that the Cavs put Cedi Osman on him to begin the game, and well... you can imagine how that went for Cedi. The Greek Freak was a game-high plus-25, and the Cleveland Cavaliers continued to chip away at the lead while he was on the bench. Whenever he checked back in, the Bucks would extend their lead. Without Middleton and Brogdon last night, it’s not all too surprising to see Giannis dominate as he did on Friday. He is a man amongst boys.
The good, the bad, and the Eric Bledsoe. It was another rollercoaster performance for the Bucks starting point guard as he finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists while turning the ball over three times in 31 minutes of play. He shot 6-of-19 from the field and 1-of-8 from three, so it was by no means an efficient game in a plus matchup for Bledsoe. There were times where he really tried to attack Cavs point guard Collin Sexton, but Eric Bledsoe was forcing offensively for most of the night. Remember, he dropped 20-12-5 four days ago against these same Cavs. With the Bucks down two key starters, it was definitely a letdown performance for Milwaukee’s starting point guard. A win is a win, nonetheless.
Brook Lopez, more than a three-point shooter? Despite shooting 3-of-10 from deep, “Splash Mountain” was doing damage from inside the arch including a reverse dunk for good measure! Even though the three wasn’t falling last night, he still let it fly. Lopez also hit a few step-back threes with guards switched onto him. His step-back looks like it’s going in slow motion, but wow is it certainly effective. He finished with 19 points and 5 rebounds while making 7-of-15 shots in 32 minutes. He was plus-12 on the night and again proved his importance to this Bucks team. With Milwaukee clinging to a lead in the 4th quarter, Lopez hit a huge three to calm things down a bit. He’s enjoyed quite the renaissance under head coach Mike Budenholzer this season.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- After a stretch of strong play, Bucks guard Sterling Brown did not step onto the floor against the Cavs. It’s a head-scratching move, but coach Bud isn’t shy about changing up the rotation every few games. Instead of Brown, Jaylen Morris got his first shot at meaningful minutes for the Bucks...he wasn’t very effective. Morris scored one point in 9 minutes.
- After not playing the last two games, Pat Connaughton got the start for Khris Middleton (finger) on Friday night. He finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in 30 minutes. He shot 2-of-8 overall, but he did stuff the stat sheet at least.
- In a spot start, Tony Snell finished with 6 points in 27 minutes and he finished plus-6. He also saved Giannis from picking up a technical foul. What a teammate.
- Playing against his former team, George Hill did not do much for the Bucks last night. He finished with 2 points and 6 boards, but the ball moved well when he was in there. However, the lineups he was playing with against the Cavs was certainly not optimal.
- The Milwaukee Bucks shot 42.6% overall and 29.3% from deep. The shooting slump is definitely a team slump at this point. No one has been consistently hitting shots for the Bucks the last week or two.
- Bucks rookie Donte DiVincenzo got his first extended burn in a while and finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in 23 minutes. The Big Ragu was flying all over the court and even had a handful of crafty finishes around the rim. Way to finish with the left, rook!