Final Dime: Bucks 92, Cavaliers 85
Antawn Jamison led everyone with 30 points in Saturday's loss.
Already without Shaquille O’Neal, the Cavaliers gave LeBron James his first night off of the season. With James in street clothes, the Wine and Gold got off to a slow start and, unlike their rally one night earlier at The Q, couldn’t catch up – dropping a 92-85 decision to the Bucks in Milwaukee.
James twisted his ankle in Friday’s win over Detroit, but Coach Mike Brown maintained that – with a favorable hole in the schedule – he was just resting his hard-working superstar.
Jawad Williams got the start in James’ place, and the Cavaliers were noticeably (and naturally) off-kilter without the reigning MVP. The league’s top first-quarter scoring team managed only 14 points in the opening period and had to play catch-up all night.
The Cavaliers trailed by just a point at intermission, but the red-hot Bucks went on a 15-4 run to give themselves all the breathing space they’d need for their 10th win in the last 11 games.
“I have to give my guys credit,” praised Coach Brown. “I thought that the effort that they gave, especially defensively, was terrific. I thought the energy was pretty good, there were a couple of times where we had some breakdowns defensively, but for the most part I thought we were pretty good on that end of the floor.”
Antawn Jamison led both clubs with 30 points to go with a team-high 11 boards. Jamison went 11-for-18 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from long-distance. The former Wizard led everyone with five steals in his first loss as a starter with the Cavs.
“I think defensively we did pretty well,” said Jamison. “We definitely missed some (opportunities) on the offensive end. The way (LeBron) is able to create easy opportunities for his teammates, it took us a while to get things going in the right direction.”
Delonte West was the only other Cavalier to crack double-figures, adding 27 points, also on 11-for-18 shooting. Delonte dished a team-high six assists in the loss.
Aside from Jamison, the rest of the Cavaliers starters were 8-for-29 from the floor. Mo Williams had a rough trip back to Milwaukee – going just 3-for-17 from the floor, including 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Cavaliers actually out-shot the Bucks on Saturday night, but struggled again from the stripe, shooting just 62 percent on just 16 attempts.
Cleveland returns home for a Monday night meeting with the Spurs followed by a three-night respite before traveling to Philadelphia.
2. LeBron missed his first game of the 2009-10 season on Saturday night. James is easily the Cavaliers leader in minutes-played this year with 2,458 and has obviously earned the rest. The Cavaliers are now 9-12 all-time without LeBron in the lineup.
3. The Cavaliers and Bucks are two of the best teams on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Bucks are now 11-6. The Cavaliers are 10-6, with just one more back-to-back remaining this year.
4. The Bucks and Cavs are also two of the top teams in restricting second-chance points. The Bucks allow just 9.5 offensive boards per game, tops in the league. The Cavaliers allow 9.7, second best. Cleveland grabbed just six offensive rebounds on Saturday.
5. Anderson Varejao came into Saturday’s game having notched double-figures in a career-best six straight games. On Saturday, Andy didn’t score his first points until midway through the fourth quarter.
6. Despite the loss, the Cavaliers still lead Milwaukee by 15 games, the biggest divisional edge in the NBA.
7. On Saturday night Antawn Jamison became the first Cavalier besides LeBron this year to break the 30-point plateau.
8. The Cavaliers are tied with Boston with 22 road wins, dropping just their 11th contest away from The Q.
9. In his last six games, Delonte West has notched 23 assists and just six turnovers. Unfortunately, all six miscues came in Saturday’s loss to Milwaukee.
10. The Bucks win snaps a Cavaliers six-game run against Milwaukee, including the last three straight at the Bradley Center.