Final Dime: Bucks 108, Cavaliers 101
Ramon Sessions notched 15 points on Saturday night in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee shot 65 percent in the opening quarter and had a dozen-point lead after one. By halftime, they’d built their lead to 16, manhandling Cleveland on the boards, 24-11. The Cavaliers put together a 34-point third out of the locker room and got within a bucket early in the fourth, but Milwaukee pulled away down the stretch – handing the Cavaliers the 108-101 loss at the Bradley Center.
“I thought the first half we didn’t come ready to play, didn’t look very motivated,” said Coach Byron Scott. “In the second half, almost kind of issued a challenge to the guys if you don’t want to play let me know and if you do, raise your hand.
“In the second half we were much better. If we had played that way the whole game it might be a different outcome.”
The Cavaliers had six players in double-figures, led by Baron Davis’ 19-point, six-assist effort. Davis was 8-for-17 from the floor, netting 13 of his 19 in the second stanza.
Ramon Sessions returned to Milwaukee to follow up with 15 points, five assists and three boards – going 6-of-11 from the field.
Following suit, J.J. Hickson notched all 11 of his points and 12 of his boards in the second half.
The Cavaliers trailed by as many as 17 early in the second half and didn’t cut Milwaukee’s lead to single digits until the final minute of the third quarter. But to start the fourth, the Wine and Gold came out on fire and when Sessions canned a short jumper with 7:36 to play, the Cavalier trailed by just a bucket – 89-87.
But just over a minute later, Michael Redd’s three-pointer put Milwaukee back up by seven. The Cavaliers continued to claw back and were within three, 101-98, with just under a minute to play. But the Bucks’ Brandon Jennings drilled a three-pointer to ice the win for Milwaukee.
“We have to figure out how to finish this season the right way because the end of this season will say a lot about our plans for next year,” said Daniel Gibson, who finished with 10 points off Cleveland’s bench.
John Salmons led all scorers with 32 points and Drew Gooden notched his first career triple-double for Milwaukee – which was eliminated from the playoff picture earlier this week.
The Bucks shot 50 percent on the night, with the Wine and Gold right behind at 48. Both teams shot well from the floor and the Cavaliers eventually closed the rebounding gap from the first half. Cleveland dominated the Bucks in the paint, 48-28, but committed 15 turnovers and dished out 19 assists to the Bucks’ 31.
The Cavaliers travel to Detroit on Sunday for their final road game of the season before returning home for Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday night to close out the season against Washington.
2. Even with Saturday’s sluggish first half, the Cavaliers have been getting to strong starts as of late. Since March 29, the Cavaliers are fourth in the league in first-half scoring, averaging 52.7 points before intermission.
3. In J.J. Hickson’s last 11 games, the third-year forward is averaging 19.4 points and 12.5 boards per contest.
4. Saturday night was just the 19th time all season the Bucks allowed a team to score 100 or more points against them all season.
5. The Cavaliers and Bucks have each used 23 different starting lineup combinations – tied for fourth-most in the NBA. The longest single lineup to start together for Cleveland was a recent 10-game run with the starting lineup of Sessions, Samuels, Parker, Hickson and Gee.
6. Christian Eyenga saw action on Saturday night, escaping Byron Scott’s doghouse after getting a couple games on the bench (for missing a pair of defensive assignments against Charlotte). The high-flying rookie finished with five points, two boards and a pair of blocks in just under 13 minutes of action.
7. The Cavaliers closed out their final back-to-back set of the season – finishing 5-16 on the second night of a back-to-back for the year.
8. In his last seven games against the Bucks, Baron Davis has averaged 17.4 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the floor in those contests.
9. 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).
10. Semih Erden looked much more comfortable on Saturday night in Milwaukee. In two previous games – 22 minutes of floor time – with the Cavs, the rookie went just 1-for-5 from the floor with three boards and six personal fouls. On Saturday, Erden finished 2-of-4 from the floor for six points to go with three boards and a pair of blocks.
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.