The Milwaukee Bucks played three quarters of absolutely abysmal basketball with all of their regular starters out, but even a valiant final 14 minutes couldn’t get them over the top as the Cleveland Cavaliers won 133-115.
Milwaukee now awaits the result of the Boston Celtics game to determine if they’re the two or the three seed. A Boston win, and they’re three; a Celtics loss, they’re two.
We got a role reversal from the Detroit Pistons game, with the Bucks getting bucketed upon over and over to start this game as the Cavs got out to a 19-3 lead. Cleveland led 46-20 after one period behind 10-15 shooting from deep against a Bucks defense that I would characterize as “highly questionable.” They didn’t fare all that much better int he second period, with the Cavaliers still leading comfortably 79-46 at halftime. Cleveland kept its starters in throughout the third as they took a 111-79 advantage, but J.B. Bickerstaff finally relented and put in his backups for the final minutes of the third to let the Bucks try and make a run. Milwaukee’s bench made a run of it against the Cavs’ backups, but despite career highs for Thanasis Antetokounmpo (27) and Sandro Mamukelahsvili (28), they couldn’t pull it close enough to compete against the Cavs’ 19-38 performance from deep overall.
Stat that Stood Out
It didn’t quite live up to the Los Angeles Clippers defensive rating performance with 152, but the Bucks bench had a pretty solid encore with this game’s 130.5. You couldn’t expect anything more against a Cavs team that ran out all their regular players, but it’s not exactly the way you’d want to finish off the season for a coach who gives you minutes primarily based on defensive performance. Either way, all that really matters is that the Bucks regulars got rest as they await their final seeding.