Final Dime: Bucks 110, Cavaliers 90


Samardo Samuels led the Cavaliers with 15 points on Wednesday night.
Gary Dineen
NBAE/Getty Images
1. They’re out there throughout the league. They’re called Cavalier-Killers. And Earl Boykins – the pride of Cleveland Central Catholic – is one of them.

Boykins, a one-time Cavalier, ignited a second-quarter Bucks rally that blew open what had been a tight ballgame. The Cavaliers trailed by just four after one, but the diminutive Bucks guard went 6-for-6 from the floor in the second quarter – keying a 30-10 Milwaukee run. Cleveland never regained momentum and dropped a 110-90 decision on Wednesday night at the Bradley Center.

With Baron Davis back in Los Angeles with his family, and the Cavaliers definitely lacked his leadership and energy off the bench.

Boykins provided the spark off Scott Skiles’ bench, and the league’s lowest-scoring team outscored Cleveland, 39-22 in the second period, shooting an eye-popping 70 percent for the quarter.

“I think (Boykins) changed the tempo of the game,” said J.J. Hickson. “He slowed it up when he wanted to, he pushed it down when he wanted to, got into the paint when he wanted to, shot whatever jump shot he wanted to shoot.”

Perhaps feeling the ill-effects of a back-to-back, the short-handed Cavaliers never made a true second-half push.

“We stopped playing – we stopped playing the defensive game, we stopped playing offensively together as a team,” said Coach Scott. “We just seemed to lose our minds and just tried to play individual basketball. We allowed our offense to affect us defensively.”

Rookie Samardo Samuels continued to impress – leading six Cavs in double-figures with 15 points and five boards. Alonzo Gee notched 12 points and Anthony Parker and Christian Eyenga added 11 apiece.

J.J. Hickson led the squad with eight boards to go with four points, two left fingers taped up after dislocating his little finger late in Tuesday’s loss at The Q. Hickson continued to struggle against Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut, totaling just four points in both starts against the Bucks.

With Baron Davis out, Daniel Gibson stepped up off Byron Scott’s bench – notching 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting, adding a team-high seven assists.

Ramon Sessions rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points and six assists.

On the night, Milwaukee shot 55 percent from the floor and led by as many as 26, handing the Wine and Gold their third straight loss.

The Cavaliers get a couple days off before returning to The Q on Sunday afternoon to face Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

2. Baron Davis didn't accompany team to Milwaukee. He returned to L.A. to be with his family after his grandmother, Madea, passed away on Monday. As most fans now know, Davis wears No. 85 as a tribute to his grandmother, whose house was on 85th street.

3. Samardo Samuels has made a major jump since the All-Star Break – improving in scoring (4.9 ppg/12.3 ppg), rebounding (3.1 rpg/6.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.463/.486).

4. After San Antonio’s Gary Neal (9.4 ppg), the Cavaliers have the two most productive undrafted rookies in the league – Samuels (6.8 ppg) and Manny Harris (6.6). The fifth rookie on that list, Pooh Jeter, who finished second in scoring for Cleveland during last year’s summer league.

5. As impressive as his offensive stats have been, Samardo Samuels has also drawn six charges – including another on Wednesday – since moving into the starting lineup.

6. Cavs assistant, Paul Pressey, returned to Milwaukee as one of the franchise’s all-time greats. One of the league’s original “point forwards” Pressey is the Bucks all-time leader in assists (3272) leading the team in five straight seasons. He’s also 2nd in steals (894), 13th in scoring (6906) and 6th games played (580).

7. Ramon Sessions went up against the squad that drafted him with the 56th overall pick in 2007. The Cavs guard averaged 11.6 ppg in 96 contests with the Milwaukee.

8. Over their last five games, the Cavaliers had averaged 15.3 offensive rebounds per contest – tops in the NBA. Against Milwaukee, however, they grabbed only four boards off the offensive glass.

9. Daniel Gibson came into Wednesday’s contest as the tenth-ranked three-point shooter in the NBA. He’ll likely move up that list after going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc on Wednesday.

10. The Cavs will get a rare three-day respite as the M.A.C. Tournament tips off on Thursday at The Q – beginning at noon with Bowling Green taking on Western Michigan. Akron plays Miami later that afternoon with Buffalo-Kent State and Ohio U-Ball State rounding out the evening slate.