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Milwaukee vs. Cleveland: Shorthanded Bucks Come Up Short

Let’s not overreact here.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The injury-depleted Milwaukee Bucks came up short in Cleveland last night, falling 107-102 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. No Giannis Antetokounmpo, no Nikola Mirotic, no Malcolm Brogdon, no George Hill, no Sterling Brown, and no Donte DiVincenzo. You get the idea. For only having eight guys suit up, the Bucks actually didn’t fare all that horribly. Here are three Bucks who “stood out” in the absences of pretty much the entire roster.

Khris Middleton, professional bucket getter (s/o Eric Nehm).

After a strong scoring performance last time out against the Lakers at the Fiserv Forum on Tuesday night, the Bucks needed another big scoring performance from him last night. He answered the call to the tune of 26 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, and one block in 37 minutes. He scored 14 points in the first quarter, and he was really the only Buck who was consistently hitting shots in the first half which prevented this game from getting too out of hand. Middleton converted on 4-of-6 shots from deep and is now shooting a serviceable 37.5 percent from three-point range over his last 10 games. There won’t be many nights where he winds up with only one assist, but with so many injuries he needed to hoist up a ton of shots.

Eric Bledsoe had an interesting night against the Cavs.

He dropped 24 points but made only 7-of-19 shots from the field. He was particularly bad at finishing around the rim, an area which he has succeeded at throughout this season. He was able to get to the rim, just could not convert his attempts. Bledsoe also added eight rebounds and eight assists but did have some tough time defending blazing hot rookie point guard Collin Sexton. There were a few where Eric got totally lost which allowed Sexton to hit open triples. Over his last 10 games, Bledsoe is shooting 44.8 percent from the field which is okay but is only shooting 25.6 percent from deep, and 61.5 percent from the charity stripe. He’s really frustrating to watch when he’s not knocking down jumpers. Here’s to him turning it around and finding the shooting touch.

Big Brook Lopez guy here.

He came up big for the Bucks, scoring 19 points and sinking 7-of-11 shots overall in 27 minutes. Splash Mountain also drained 3-of-5 shots from deep and chipped in with two big blocked shots. He’s been in a groove lately, averaging 14.3 points and shooting 40.4% from deep over his last 10 games. He is a matchup nightmare for any opposing team, and he is going to really expose some defenses in the postseason. Keep letting it fly.

Bonus Bucks

  • My word D.J. Wilson was awful. He somehow managed to finish a team-worst minus-25 in 29 minutes. In a game where the Bucks needed everything they could get from their depleted bench, he definitely made matters worse. He shot 1-of-9 from the floor and totaled six points. Sure, the eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals are nice, but Wilson was a huge negative for Milwaukee last night. It was rough.
  • Ersan Ilyasova scored eight points in 25 minutes but was limited due to early foul trouble. He finished a team-high plus-14.
  • Pat Connaughton was also meh...finishing with 11 points in 34 minutes (minus-20).
  • Tim Frazier was scoreless (0-of-4 FG) in 15 minutes off the bench. Yikes.
  • Tony Snell got the start and was rarely heard from throughout last night’s game, finishing with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.
  • The Bucks shot 39.6% from the floor and 40.6% from deep.