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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: A Rout That Felt Rarely Ever in Doubt

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The Bucks used another second half surge to seize control

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks made short work fo the Cleveland Cavaliers, 124-99, using a dominating late third and early fourth to secure another win. Despite a 3-12 start from beyond the arc, Milwaukee still staked a 25-22 advantage after the first quarter. By halftime, Cleveland was still keeping it close with the Bucks at 59-54, even as the Cavaliers struggled beyond the arc at just 28.6% (4-14). Jrue Holiday was the high man for Milwaukee with 14 points. As the third quarter wound down, the Bucks went on a sizable run to finally take over the contest, heading into the fourth up double digits. It didn’t take long before it wasn’t even a contest, as Bud was able to rest the starters for the final few minutes.

What We Learned

Milwaukee continues to show the versatility of their offensive approach, with paint success begetting three-pointers and vice versa. It all paid off as this game continued, with the long ball dropping consistently pairing well with Giannis doing his best to force the issue against the Cavaliers down low. Considering Cleveland came into this two-game series with the stingiest rim defense in the league, the Bucks have to be pleased with how they were able to find efficient success within the restricted area through both brute force and perfect passing. Marrying those two has paid dividends as they’ve coasted to the league’s best offense.

Three Pointers

Jrue Holiday wasn’t messing around. Not only was he barreling his body into the Cavs’ young backcourt as he bullied his way to the basket, but he also picked his spots for triples whenever he felt like it. When he wasn’t scoring in the paint, he was making the extra pass to a cutter or someone on the perimeter. On the other end, he had two steals and made Collin Sexton’s night basketball hell for the duration. He ended at 20 points and eight assists on 14 shots.

Bryn Forbes Was Feeling It. The sharpshooter played pivotal roles in both Milwaukee victories over Cleveland, and he went 6-6 from three in this one. The gunner’s continued to look more comfortable, and even if that occasionally leads to some “feeling himself” midrange shots I’d prefer were distributed elsewhere, you can’t deny the consistency he’s offered from beyond the arc this year. His 44% from deep has become a trusted weapon and outlet for the Bucks playmakers.

Milwaukee doesn’t need threes...but they sure help. The Bucks made only seven three-pointers in Friday night’s win, but in this one they splashed home 16. The first Cavs win featured a parade of paint points, enough to offset any sort of disadvantage they had from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, the tides turned in this one as the Bucks were on target from deep all evening. When the Bucks are hitting 47.1% of their threes, in tandem with Giannis doing his thing inside, they’re near impossible to take down.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • I really appreciated Jrue Holiday taking advantage of his size against Darius Garland in the first period. His calm backing into the post before a smooth finish worked well with Bobby Portis occupying Jarrett Allen on the perimeter.
  • Even if this overly confident move did somehow jinx his shot, it’s not like it could go much worse than it has since his piping hot start.
  • Jarrett Allen is a glutton for Giannis dunk punishment.
  • I honestly can’t remember seeing as many floaters in a two-game period as I did during these two Cavaliers games. Cleveland was burying floater after floater in the paint over the outstretched arms of Milwaukee’s zone drop scheme. Cleaning The Glass had them at 16-25 (64%) from short midrange, which encompasses from 4-14 feet from the basket.
  • It was the second game of a back-to-back, against a suspect defensive backcourt, but D.J. Augustin showed a few signs of life with some nifty passes (including a beauty of a transition heave to Jrue Holiday) and forcing contact under the basket. He tacked on a few triples too. He just needs to string more of these types of performances together.

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