Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘We take on all challenges’

On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended their three-game homestand in style against the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Cleveland routed the Buck 115-99 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the win, the Cavs(30-19) have won three straight and eight of their last nine, while Milwaukee’s(30-20) three-game winning streak was snapped.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ big win over the Bucks.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

Kevin Love and Cedi Osman: The difference makers off the Cavs’ bench against the Bucks. Love led the team with 25 points, including five threes and nine rebounds. It was Love’s second straight 20-plus point game. 

Osman scored 18 of 23 points in the first half, including a career-high-tying six threes. The five-year veteran also had a milestone as he grabbed his 1,000th career rebound.

Osman gave the Cavs a significant lift in the second quarter as he scored 15 points(most points he’s had in a quarter in his career), including four threes. Osman had a combined 21 points in the previous four games, but he busted out Wednesday night.

Because of the contributions of Love and Osman, Cleveland’s bench outscored Milwaukee’s bench 57-15.

-Darius Garland continues to play at an All-Star level. He had 19 points and eight assists. Garland battled a back injury throughout the contest, but he gutted it through and led the team. 

-Evan Mobley was in double figures for the 16th straight game as he had 16 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks.

-Jarrett Allen returned after missing Monday’s win over the Knicks with an illness. He had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. It was Allen’s fifth double-double in his last six appearances. 

Second and Third Quarters: The Bucks shot 73.7% from the floor and led 35-26 after one quarter. Then, Osman and Love happened in the second quarter, and the Cavs woke up.

Cleveland shot 50% from the field and made seven threes(7/12) in the second. Love and Osman combined for 21 of Cleveland’s 39 points in the quarter. Milwaukee led the Cavs 37-26 at the 11:41 mark of the second quarter. Cleveland would outscore the Bucks 36-14 to take their largest lead in the quarter of 11 points(62-51).

Cleveland outscored the Bucks 39-22 in the second quarter and took a 65-57 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Cavs continued to dominate the world champions. Cleveland outscored the Bucks 30-20 in the quarter and held Milwaukee to 26.3% from the field, including 1/7 from deep. 

The Cavaliers outscored the Bucks 69-42 in the second and third quarters. Cleveland led Milwaukee 95-77 after three quarters. The Cavs had their largest lead of 21 points in the third. 

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

You beat the world champions by 16 points; it’s all good in the Land.

Bottom Line:

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the team’s victory over the Nets on MLK Day was a signature win. Well, this win was probably better. Here’s why: First, the Bucks are 18-3 this season when Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are in the lineup. Next, Milwaukee was on a three-game winning streak, and finally, the Cavs not only beat the Bucks, but they blew them out, so yes, this is the Cavs’ signature win of the season. 

Cleveland is the third seed in the East and is now 1.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot in the conference. The Cavs are for real, and if they keep winning, maybe they can grab the top spot in the East.

“We take on all challenges,” Bickerstaff said of the Cavs. “We don’t run from anybody. We don’t back down. We give everybody our best shot.”

What’s Next:

Cleveland will have a few days off before they travel to Detroit to battle the Pistons Sunday night.

Best of the Rest:

-Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with a game-high 26 points. He also added nine rebounds and three assists. Bobby Portis had 22 points, and Middleton added 21. 

-Cleveland had six players in double figures against the Bucks. The Cavs recorded 19 threes in this one.

-In their last 12 games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the Cavs are 10-2.

Watch below as Love, Osman, and Allen react to the big win over the Bucks:

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