The Milwaukee Bucks fell short, 124-117, against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were without head coach, Tyronn Lue, as he took a leave of absence due to health concerns. Cleveland did see Kevin Love return to the lineup after missing the last 20 games with a broken hand.
The Bucks and Cavs traded blows throughout much of the first half until Cleveland went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter to head into the break up 64-57. The Central Division rivals continued to trade scoring spurts throughout the third quarter, but eventually the Cavaliers outpaced and out-executed the Bucks as the game drew to its conclusion.
Giannis Antetokounmpo found himself in foul trouble early as he collected two quick fouls in the first six minutes of the game. Upon his return in the second quarter, Giannis used his well-rested legs to control the Bucks’ offensive flow and put an exclamation mark on his great first half with this stretchy limbed finish.
Antetokounmpo finished the night with 37 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and went 11/11 from the free throw line. Unfortunately, he was unable to drag Milwaukee over the hump and into the win column.
Khris Middleton’s first quarter was worthy of an NBA Jam, “He’s on fire!” accolade. Middleton scored 13 of his eventual 30 points and knocked down two of his five threes on the night in the opening 12 minutes. His second half was just as impressive as his first. He finished the night shooting 11/16 from the floor (68.8 percent) and 5/9 (55.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Middleton showing out against a playoff-caliber opponent is a welcome sign late in the season.
LeBron James imposed his will and was able to take over the game whenever the Bucks were close to overtaking the lead. James recorded his third triple-double in four games as he finished with 40 points, 12 rebounds, and ten assists. In his return, Love found the bottom of the net on four of his nine three-point attempts and finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in nearly 25 minutes.
Stat that Stood Out
10 - that is the difference in total rebounds grabbed by the Cavaliers compared to the Bucks tonight. Cleveland finished with 42 total rebounds and had four players corral six or more missed shots (James, Love, Kyle Korver, Ante Zizic). On the other hand, the Bucks were only able to snag 32 rebounds and had two players grab six or more bricks (Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker), with Thon Maker only able to haul in one rebound.
Grabbing rebounds is important.— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) March 20, 2018