Cavs Top Bucks in Comeback Thriller
Wrap-Up – Friday’s matchup with Milwaukee had a little bit of everything: new guys seeing significant time, a young All-Star showing his stuff and a Cavaliers comeback that saw the Wine and Gold erase a 20-point third-quarter deficit to win their third straight at The Q –113-105 – over the Bucks at The Q.
The Cavs trailed by nine at intermission, but the Bucks extended their edge to 20 midway through the third. But Kyrie Irving – along with an effective second unit – ignited the comeback. Irving would go on to net 16 of his game-high 35 points in the third quarter. Cleveland again trailed by nine, 90-81, to start the final period, but the Cavaliers’ second unit – led by newcomers Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington – quickly cut into Milwaukee’s lead. Ellington’s three-pointer with 6:31 to play gave Cleveland its first lead in the second half and the Cavs never looked back.
A day after being named to the Eastern Conference All-Star squad, Kyrie went 12-of-17 from the floor and 9-of-9 from the stripe, adding five boards, two assists and a pair of steals. Tristan Thompson added 18 points and six boards and Dion Waiters – back in the starting lineup because of an ailing C.J. Miles – chipped in with 16.
Turning Point – Cleveland’s starters – namely Kyrie Irving – got the Cavaliers to within striking distance to finish the third quarter. But the Cavaliers reserves came out on fire to start the fourth – rattling off a 21-5 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a seven-point edge. The Bucks cut the lead to just a deuce late in the game, but Irving came in to close out the win – scoring the Cavs’ final six points to ice the victory.
Game Ball – Cavs Second Unit – As well as some starters played on Friday night, Byron Scott’s bench was responsible for willing the Wine and Gold up the hill. Shaun Livingston went 6-of-8 from the floor for 12 points, Mareese Speights finished with 10 points, six boards and a pair of steals and Luke Walton notched a team-high seven assists (for the second straight game). All told, the Cavaliers’ bench outscored Milwaukee’s – 36-20.
By the Numbers – 26.7 … points per game Kyrie Irving is averaging against the Bucks in six career games. In those half-dozen contests, Kyrie’s failed to score more than 26 points on just one occasion.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the Cavaliers’ reserves in Friday night’s win over Milwaukee …
“It’s pretty simple. I told my guys to thank the second unit. They won the game for us. It’s that simple.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers travel to Toronto where they’ll face the Raptors on Saturday night. They have another light week when they return. On Tuesday, they welcome David Lee, Steph Curry and the Warriors to close out the month of January. Next weekend, they face the Pistons in Detroit on Friday and welcome Kevin Durant and the reigning Western Conference Champion Thunder to Cleveland.