Final Dime: Bucks 102, Cavaliers 88
Ramon Sessions notched 22 points in Friday night's loss at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
Joey Graham, Anthony Parker and Christian Eyenga returned from various injuries to help boost a club that had dropped 14 straight coming into Friday’s interdivisional matchup. But the infusion didn’t add up to a win as the Wine and Gold dropped their 15th consecutive game – falling 102-88 to the Bucks at
Cleveland was attempting to make it two straight over the banged-up Bucks after topping them on a buzzer-beater back in late November. Instead, Scott Skiles squad – the worst-shooting club in the NBA – shot 51 percent from the floor en route to the two-touchdown win.
The Cavaliers trailed by as many as 20 in the third quarter, but used a 10-0 run to cut Milwaukee’s edge to just nine – 79-70. But the Bucks went on an 11-4 run to start the fourth, and the Wine and Gold couldn’t catch up.
Byron Scott’s young bunch has now dropped 25 of their last 26 games.
“We have to do a better job of playing harder,” said Scott. “There’s no doubt about that. We also have to do a better job of when a team has a little bit of a run or we make some mistakes on the offensive end, we can’t hold our head down and let it accumulate on the defensive end.”
Cleveland got good production from two starters – and not much from the rest of the starting five. Ramon Sessions and Antawn Jamison tallied 22 points apiece. Jamison did most of his damage from the floor – going 7-of-18 from the floor. Sessions earned most of his points from the free throw line – going 14-for-16 from the stripe.
The remainder of Cleveland’s starters – J.J. Hickson, Alonzo Gee and Manny Harris – combined for just four points. None of the three attempted a free throw on Friday and only one starter attempted a single three-pointer.
The Cavaliers did get 15 points off the bench from Boobie Gibson, who was 4-of-11 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
“At some point, we will show a sign of what we are capable of doing, but we haven’t been able to put an entire game together,” said Gibson. “We can’t have excuses. At some point, you’ve got to throw those excuses out the window and go out there and play the game.”
The Bucks had three players in double-figures, and one of them was center Andrew Bogut, who had his way with the Cavaliers collection of bigs. The former No. 1 overall pick was 11-for-14 from the floor – getting an undersized Hickson into immediate foul trouble.
The Cavaliers shot just 38 percent from the floor, attempting just seven three-pointers. Cleveland bounced back from a poor free-throw shooting first half to go 32-for-40 from the stripe, led by Sessions.
The Cavaliers couldn’t take advantage of this week’s home cooking and will try to find their way on the road, beginning with the second-half of the weekend back-to-back on Saturday night in Chicago.
2. Previous to Friday night, the Cavaliers had won eight of their last nine over Milwaukee and six straight at The Q, including Mo Williams’ buzzer-beater this past November.
3. On Friday night, the Cavaliers unveiled this year’s CavFanatic uniform – an all-black version of last year’s navy blue uni’s – including the 2003-2010 “Cavaliers” wordmark – and utilizing the blue, black and orange team colors from the mid-1990s and early 2000s.
4. Rookie Christian Eyenga, who returned after missing the last three games with sprained right ankle, brought some nice energy – finishing with nine points on 3-for-6 shooting, adding four boards and a steal.
5. Joey Graham made his way back into the rotation. The sixth-year forward hasn’t played since a Dec. 15 meeting with the Heat in Miami, when he strained his right quad. On Friday night, Graham finished with six points, going 3-for-5 from the floor.
6. Ramon Sessions has now notched double-figures in 11 of his past 12 games – averaging 15.5 points and 5.8 assists per contest in that span. His 14-for-16 mark from the stripe marks a season-high in both attempts and makes.
7. Daniel Gibson tied his season-high with eight assists. He came into the matchup with Milwaukee as the 6th-ranked 3-pt marksman in the NBA – at .449 percent – and finished 2-of-3 from long-distance on Friday.
8. After shooting just 56 percent from the free throw line in the first quarter, the Cavaliers finished at an even 80 percent – the 14th time this season the team has hit at least .800 of their free throw attempts.
9. The Cavaliers’ bench ranks fifth in the league in scoring at 36.5 points per game. On Friday night, the Wine and Gold finished with 40 points, led by Gibson’s 15.
10. Beginning with Saturday’s matchup in the Windy City, the Cavaliers depart for a three-game roadie – facing the Bulls, followed by a back-to-back on Monday night in New Jersey and a Tuesday night battle in Beantown.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.