The Cavs were hoping to snap their four-game losing streak on Wednesday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks. Fortunately for Cleveland, they got back their leading scorer Donovan Mitchell(ankle), who missed Sunday’s loss against the Timberwolves. However, they were still without Jarrett Allen(illness) and Dean Wade(knee).
Cleveland(8-6) trailed the Bucks(11-3) by as many as 20 points in this one; they cut the lead to nine in the fourth but could not get any closer as they fell to Milwaukee 113-98 at Fiserv Forum.
The Cavs have now lost five straight; Milwaukee snapped a two-game losing streak.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Bucks.
Evan Mobley had 20 points on an efficient 9/14 from the field, with seven rebounds and two blocks. Mobley started at center for Allen.
Cavs Backcourt: Darius Garland(8/20, 5/9 3FG) and Donovan Mitchell(7/19, 3/9 3FG) scored 23 points apiece for the Cavs, which was nearly half of the team’s points. In addition, the two combined for 11 assists as Garland led the team with eight dimes.
Not So Great:
Third Quarter: Bucks led the Cavs 61-60 at the break but took complete control of the game in the third. They outscored the Bucks 34-18 in the quarter and had the largest lead of the game at 91-71 in the quarter. Brook Lopez(7/9 3FG) was on fire as he scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the third. The Bucks were sizzling in the third as they shot 60% from the field. On the contrary, Cleveland shot 29% from the floor.
Defense: Cleveland did not get the job done on the defensive end. Milwaukee shot 53% for the first three quarters and easily got into the lane. Just way too many open looks for the Bucks, and they capitalized on it.
There is no shame in losing to the Bucks on the road, but Milwaukee was without Jrue Holiday(ankle) and Khris Middleton(wrist), so this was an opportunity for the Cavs to steal a win. However, that’s hard to do when the defensive energy is not where it needs to be. Hopefully, the Cavs can get it right during their upcoming four-game homestand.
Cleveland starts a four-game homestand at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday when they host the Charlotte Hornets.
Best of the Rest:
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists for the Bucks; Jordan Nwora added 21 points(5/9 3FG) off the bench.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to fill up the stat sheet on a nightly basis, but unlike previous years, those numbers are translating to a lot more wins. Milwaukee currently has the best record in basketball(39-13), and Antetokounmpo has an excellent case for MVP.
Statistically, his numbers are great. “The Greek Freak” is 8th in point per game(26.7) and 6th in rebounds per game(12.6). While Houston’s James Harden(36.5 ppg) continues to put up great numbers, he is not having as much team success as Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Traditionally, the MVP goes to the best player on the best team, which means Antetokounmpo has a legitimate shot at being the league’s MVP, and according to Bucks C Brook Lopez, Giannis should get plenty of votes.
“He should have a lot of people’s votes,” Lopez recently told goforitradio.com. “He has been just a huge part of what we do, no question. He’s our leader in so many different ways.”
If the Bucks continue to play well, and Antetokounmpo continues to put up great numbers, he probably wins the award. Regarding the Bucks as championship contenders, they have a legit shot to make the NBA Finals, and while Milwaukee is playing well right now, Lopez expects them to be even better come playoff time.
“I think we will be a completely different team in May and June,” Lopez said. “We’re going to be a lot better team as well, so we’re just trying to keep improving each and every game.”
It’s hard to get better than 26 games over .500, but if the Bucks continue to improve, Giannis wins the MVP, and Milwaukee will be representing the East in the NBA Finals.
Listen to the complete interview with Lopez below: