In a game that featured a one-of-a-kind lineup from the Bucks, they were unable to get the job done vs. their divisional foes, as the Cavaliers left town with a 119-90 victory.
With the wacky lineup that started this one, it was definitely not your typical night. Jordan Nwora and DeMarcus Cousins were both active in the first quarter, providing spurts of offense for the Bucks. However, the Cavs would gradually build up a double-digit lead and would carry a 34-20 advantage into the second.
The Bucks would continue to give it their best attempt to chip away at Cleveland’s lead, but the Cavs kept Milwaukee at bay. The Bucks’ porous offense failed to generate any momentum to get a real run going. Going into the locker room at halftime, the Cavaliers held a 62-51 lead.
Milwaukee’s offensive struggles proved to be too much in this one, not allowing them to get anything done. Midway through the third, the Cavaliers developed a 30 point advantage. At that point, there was no turning back for Cleveland. That’d be more than enough for them to seal a victory, and that’s exactly what they did. They’d walk away with a 119-90 victory.
Jordan Nwora would lead the Bucks with a game-high 28 points. Sandro Mamukelashvili had an impactful performance with 17 points. George Hill fell next in line with 14 points.
For Cleveland, Cedi Osman led the way with 23 points off the bench. Darius Garland mixed in 22 of his own.
What Did We Learn?
It’s always an uphill battle to win a basketball game when you’re experiencing a tough shooting night, and that’s exactly what happened with the Bucks. All in all, they’d shoot 39.3 percent from the floor, but right from the get go, their poor shooting was taken advantage of by the Cavaliers. While Milwaukee was struggling to put the ball in the hoop, Cleveland was scoring and taking advantage of the Bucks’ woes. The good thing for the Bucks is that this isn’t their typical lineup, which means that there shouldn’t be as many offensive struggles as this one moving forward.
This was definitely a wacky lineup for the Bucks.
With COVID-19 running rampant throughout the NBA, the Bucks are definitely reeling from the effects. Tonight was just another example. They’d trot out a lineup featuring Jordan Nwora, Sandro Mamukelashvili, DeMarcus Cousins, Javonte Smart, and George Hill. Immediately out of the gates, it’d be tough sledding trying to score points. In his postgame presser, here’s what Bud had to say about that lineup and in reference to Grayson Allen/Jrue Holiday both being active, but not seeing minutes:
Bud with a baseball analogy on tonight's starting lineup: "We went with a bullpen game but could never get to the high leverage innings."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 19, 2021
Jordan Nwora continues to excel from an offensive side of things.
We all know Jordan Nwora can score the basketball, and that was put on display yet again last night. He’d explode for 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting and connect on four 3-pointers. It’s fun to see him get open and work with the basketball by creating those shots. It’s great to see him take advantage of the minutes he does see by scoring like he does when he’s called upon. His scoring wasn’t the only thing that stood out from his stat line as well, as he contributed by reeling in 11 boards on the evening, completing a double-double performance.
Sandro Mamukelashvili has strung together a few nice games.
In a game that didn’t feature many bright spots for the Bucks, Sandro was one of those few bright spots. He’d register over 42 minutes on the evening, and put together quite a respectable impact on the game, tallying 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. When Bud was asked about his contributions, he praised him, noting his draft position and his status as a two-way player. He discussed how he’s excited with how he’s progressing and the ability to string together performances like this is something that he and the team appreciate. In his postgame availability, Mamu really gave praise to the coaching staff and fellow teammates (specifically Pat) for giving him the confidence and support to shoot the ball and be himself out on the floor. It’ll be intriguing to see Sandro’s usage moving forward and how he’s able to continue assisting this Bucks squad.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Semi Ojeleye made his first return in a while, coming back from a calf strain. He’d tally a tick just below 18 minutes on the evening. In those spurts of action, he’d go just 1-of-7 from the floor for five points. In his postgame availability, Bud mentioned how he’s proud of Semi’s rehab process and the work he’s put in. He’ll look to make an impact on the squad moving forward.
- The third quarter is where this one really turned around. Cleveland began to storm ahead by shooting the three ball, and that’s exactly what Jordan Nwora attributed the run to as well. Given the Bucks offensive struggles in this one, that really proved to be the nail in the coffin for them.
- Javonte Smart played a team-high 44:29 minutes of action. His ability to help out and give this team minutes on such a thin roster is definitely big for the team.
- Speaking of minutes, DeMarcus Cousins racked up over 27 minutes on the night. That was the most game action he’s seen as a Milwaukee Buck.
- This was a neat tidbit from Sandro Mamukelashvili’s postgame presser:
Sandro Mamukelashvili says he's working on a collection of signed jerseys. It started with him asking DeMarcus Cousins for his signature, a player he grew up watching and admiring on the Kings.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 19, 2021
- Last, shoutout to the Wisconsin Badgers volleyball team. National champs! The Bucks congratulated them on the Fiserv Forum jumbotron after it was all sealed: