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Milwaukee vs. Cleveland: Bucks Overpower the Cavaliers, 113-98

Seven threes from Brook Lopez leads the way for Milwaukee

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In their first matchup of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks got themselves back in the win column following a 113-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Despite being plagued by the injury bug, the Bucks would take care of the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 113-98.

Some turnovers would gift the Cavaliers points in the early going, which wasn’t good news for the Bucks — especially when Donovan Mitchell poured in 16 points from the floor in the first 12 minutes. However, Brook Lopez’s strong showing from beyond the arc prevented the Bucks from lagging too far behind. At the end of one, Cleveland led by a slim margin, 37-34.

Despite the flurry of injuries the Bucks were suffering from, the bench was showing up and making things close. In fact, Milwaukee carried a 61-60 advantage into the locker room at halftime. This was thanks in large part to the Bucks bench outscoring the Cavs 27-8 at half.

Brook Lopez would continue with his flamethrower to begin the second half. His sharpshooting aided the Bucks in opening up a double-digit lead to kick off the third. It’d end up snowballing into a mammoth Bucks run, as things were blown wide-open in a relatively short manner. Everything was in their control going into the fourth quarter at a 95-78 lead.

The Cavaliers wouldn’t roll belly-up right away in the fourth, as they sliced and diced things back to a single-digit deficit to begin things. However, the Bucks were quick to extinguish those comeback hopes, slamming the door and forcing Cleveland to go to their reserves with four-plus minutes remaining. Things would eventually result in a 113-98 victory for Milwaukee.

Brook Lopez would conclude his outing as Milwaukee’s leading scorer, scorching home seven threes which resulted in 29 points for the big man. Jordan Nwora found a groove off the bench, converting five threes into 21 points.

Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland matched each other with 23 point outings. Evan Mobley also registered into the 20 point category with that exact number.

The Bucks will now have an off-day on Thursday, followed by a matchup with the 76ers in Philadelphia.

Three Observations

This Cavs team is fun to watch.

I used to always be somewhat bored when the Cavaliers used to come to Milwaukee. This was in the post-LeBron era. However, now they have a flurry of young, exciting talent. Donovan Mitchell. Darius Garland. Evan Mobley. They were without Jarrett Allen which I was bummed to see, but they still put on a fun show. Pre-game, Mike Budenholzer was asked his thoughts on Mitchell joining the East, to which he responded: “I hate it.” Kudos to him for telling us what he really thinks. It should be fun to see how this matchup unfolds and if it will result in a rivalry. One things for certain, though. There’s a good chance that these two teams will meet again — and not just in the regular season.

It was a tale of two halves for Donovan Mitchell.

In the first half, it seemed as if Donovan Mitchell simply couldn’t miss. He torched Milwaukee for 16 points and scored at will. MarJon Beauchamp started off on the superstar. However, that defensive assignment then shifted to Jevon Carter, which paid off for the Bucks. Mitchell would tally just seven points the remainder of the way, which ultimately proved to be a huge ingredient in the victory recipe for the Bucks. It’s impressive that they held him to that low of a scoring output despite being without Jrue Holiday and his defensive efforts. I asked Bud about all of this and here’s how he responded to me:

Jevon Carter continues to be so huge for this team.

As Bud highlighted in his answer to me above, Carter did a massive job taking on the role of defending Donovan Mitchell. It’s fantastic to see how he gravitates towards wanting that tough defensive assignment and never shies away from it. Additionally, his impact isn’t being felt just on the defensive side of the ball, but offense as well. Along with his bursts of scoring, he’s also facilitating the basketball at a very efficient rate, proving that he’s much more than a one-trick pony. The more his fingerprints get over the box score, the better off the Bucks are, and that was proven yet again last night.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • Prior to the game, Pat Connaughton was listed as probable. He’s yet to make his return from a right calf strain. However, Bud and the medical staff didn’t want to take any chances in bringing him back and are going to keep waiting. We’ll see if he makes his return in Philadelphia.
  • Brook Lopez — just wow. He was sinking threes left and right. Ultimately, he’d finish with 29 points on the evening thanks to seven threes. Here’s something crazy as well — he’s never scored 40 points in a game. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to surpass that threshold. But given the way he’s playing? It wouldn’t be surprising to see him surpass that this season.
  • We didn’t get a massive performance from Giannis last night, so naturally, it seemed like an “off-night.” Despite that though, he still came just two assists away from a triple-double. It’s crazy to see just how easily he makes an impact on things although he may not be pouring in an obscene amount of points.
  • It was a night of new beginnings for the Bucks marketing department, as the squad debuted their blue jerseys and blue court — and that blue court POPPED. It was extremely blue. I’m also a big fan of those jerseys, especially the funky design running down the sides.
  • MarJon continues to show an excel in transition. Once again, he made an impact play in that facet of his game, slamming home a dunk on the fastbreak. He continues to be exciting to watch.
  • It was a big rebounding night for Milwaukee. They’d outboard the Cavaliers 52-36, something that was monumental in the victory. Hustle is in this team’s DNA, and that’s exemplified by that stat.
  • Have a night, Jordan Nwora. After some off games from deep, he was relieved to re-discover his stroke yet again, knocking down five threes. That resulted in him being the second leading scorer for Milwaukee, rattling off 21 points.
  • When injuries are riddling a team, guys need to step up and that’s exactly what Milwaukee’s bench did. They totaled 45 points compared to Cleveland’s 20.
  • Free throws continue to be a struggle for the Bucks. They’d hit just 15-of-27. They remain dead-last in the league in that department.
  • Some of the passes that Darius Garland made were pretty nasty:
  • Last, we saw AJ Green first quarter minutes. Congrats to the rookie on his first points in the Association: