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Milwaukee vs. Cleveland: Bucks Backups Bested Despite Career Game from Mamu

All that matters is the Bucks regulars are healthy

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

The Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, 133-115, with all of their regular rotation folks out as they awaited the final score of the Boston Celtics game to determine their final seed.

The first quarter was an absolute avalanche by the Cavaliers over Milwaukee’s backup brigade, as Cleveland poured home 46 points to the Bucks 20 due to 10-15 shooting from deep. Fans weren’t treated to much better play in the second as the Cavs starters poured it on against the defensive effort of the backups. They were up 79-46 at halftime as the game was already in the bag. The Cavaliers finally called off their dogs as they took a 111-79 lead into the fourth period. Milwaukee’s bench tried its darndest and actually made it a somewhat respectable game, but they fell in the end even as they outscored Cleveland 36-22 in the final frame.

Three Pointers

My running Mamu diary: Wow, first quarter and he already dribble drove past potential All-Defense nominee Evan Mobley. Followed up by a Giannis impression with a baseline turnaround jumper over Darius Garland. Pumpfake drive to the of the lane then a dish to Wigginton who paid it off in the corner. One issue, I’m not totally sure he’s ever made someone miss at the rim, Markkannen has finished through him twice in the second. A coast to coast drive that drew free throws. Sure he gave up some threes, but hey, a contested rebound that he turns into an and-one on the other end! Still 17 minutes of Mamu to go baby; gotta savor this still summer league. He stopped 00 on the Cavs, I don’t know who that is, on a drive to the rim and then attacked him on the other end...followed by another and-one! We’re glossing over the Stevens finish past him at the rim. Two straight behind the head passes to Thanasis in transition, plus a midrange turnaround and a corner triple? Horst may have to print a contract at the arena after a career high 28 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four assists.

I’m not sure this group has practiced much zone. The first quarter was an unbelievable display of horrific defense, with nobody really certain who is supposed to be guarding who and lots of finger-pointing! Credit to all the backups for playing a full 12 minutes with no real discernible strategy. I went in with no expectations, and it’s a credit to them that they finally clamped down once the Cavaliers finally put in all of their worst players. Were this exclusively an end-of-bench vs. end-of-bench player game, I fully believe the Bucks might’ve taken this one. As it was, the Cavaliers went 19-38 from deep and posted a 130.5 defensive rating.

Starter Jordan Nwora did his thing. It’s almost comical how often I look at Jordan Nwora’s stat line and the points scored almost exactly correlates to the number of shots he took. Given the start in this, he knew he would have to shoulder the scoring and playmaking load and he was his usual not shy self with 23 shots. He ended with 24 points on the game.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • We only got seven minutes of Jrue Holiday before he was subbed out for the remainder of this contest. Credit to the Bucks org for helping him hit his contract incentive.
  • Credit to Thanasis for the restraint shown on this pumpfake. You could tell he wanted the triple, but the dunk on Love was much more his speed.
  • Congrats to Tuck!
  • I’m not sure if the Bucks will bring back Mamu, I hope they do, but he has definitely improved on the ability to make quicker decisions shooting from beyond the arc. He had plenty of fast trigger triple attempts in this one.
  • Okay, this Rondo pass was pretty slick.
  • Gotta admit that when I saw Luca Vildoza on the bench next to Khris Middleton, at first I wondered why a fan was able to sit directly on the team bench...

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