Cavaliers comeback falls short in 119-112 loss to Bucks
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - When you’re overmatched in the NBA, it can be extremely difficult to win a game, especially if the other team has a Freak on its side.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, which entered Friday’s game with the Milwaukee Bucks residing near the bottom of the league, hosted reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his boys from the Cream City on Friday night. The Bucks arrived in Cleveland with the best record in the Eastern Conference and completely overwhelmed the Cavs early en route to a 119-112 victory in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Friday.
“They’re a difficult team to prepare for,” Cavs head coach John Beilein said. “Giannis is just a different, very unique hybrid of a player that you have to prepare for.”
Antetokounmpo was a terror on Friday, throwing down a ferocious dunk plus the foul on the first possession of the game. The Cavs found themselves with a 10-8 lead following a Cedi Osman three-pointer with just under nine minutes showing in the first quarter. Unfortunately for Cleveland, it was the last time the team would lead in the game.
Bucks center Brook Lopez converted a layup on Milwaukee’s ensuing possession, Antetokounmpo put back a vicious dunk moments later and two more Bucks buckets fell to give Milwaukee a 17-10 lead. Milwaukee led 38-29 when the first ended and the margin only got wider from there.
The Bucks led by 20 points at halftime, 67-47, and the Cavs never fully recovered from being in the huge hole. Cleveland closed the gap to within a three-point deficit, 113-110, when power forward Kevin Love converted a layup with 2:20 to play in the fourth quarter. However, Bucks guard Khris Middleton converted a layup on Milwaukee’s next possession, and Cleveland failed to score in the final 2:20 of the game.
Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee.
“Most people don’t go out and pressure him, because they know that he has the ability to go by you,” Beilein said. “He’s such an elite passer, and he gets to the foul line a lot as well, so you just have to try to play him straight up as much as you can.”
Tristan Thompson produced his team-leading 11th double-double of the season against Milwaukee, finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds. In the game, Thompson passed 5,000 rebounds for his career, joining LeBron James (6,190 rebounds), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (3,904 rebounds) and Brad Daugherty (5,227 rebounds) as the only players to accomplish that feat in a Cavaliers uniform.
Cavs point guard Darius Garland led Cleveland with 21 points and a career-high tying six assists, reaching double figures in scoring for the eighth time in his last nine games. Cedi Osman scored 18 points, Larry Nance Jr. chipped-in 18 points and nine rebounds. Love and Collin Sexton scored 16 points each.
The Bucks defeated Cleveland in Milwaukee in late October, shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range in the contest. Not much changed on Friday, as Milwaukee shot 51 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc.
“It seems like it was a year ago that we played them in Milwaukee,” Beilein said. “Both teams have improved a great deal, both teams have changes.”
With the loss against Milwaukee, the Cavs fell to 1-4 on their six-game homestand. The’ll look to end their three-game losing streak at home against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
POSTED 11/29/2019 22:03