Notebook: Bucks 90, Cavaliers 86



Posted Dec 14, 2012 11:58 PM

By Brian Dulik, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Shooting guard Monta Ellis scored 20 of his season-high 33 points in the second half as the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 90-86 Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Point guard Brandon Jennings added 16 points and a game-best eight assists for the Bucks (12-9), who extended their season-long winning streak to four in a row. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, while center Anderson Varejao collected eight points, a game-high 18 rebounds and four assists. Milwaukee has won nine straight games over Central Division rival Cleveland (5-19).

QUOTABLE: "I just took what the defense gave me, it was pretty simple. I tried to come off [screens] and make a play for myself or for someone else. But it wasn't just me. We're really jelling as a team now and we're all helping each other."

-- Bucks shooting guard Monta Ellis

THE STAT: The Cavaliers committed 27 turnovers, which was the most in the NBA in a regulation game this season. It also equaled the high-water mark for Cleveland since Jan. 17, 2003 at Denver, when Cleveland made 28 miscues. Irving led the way with six turnovers, while shooting guards C.J. Miles and Daniel Gibson, as well as center Tyler Zeller had four apiece. "When you come out with a lack of energy and the lack of effort that we came out with, and you commit 27 turnovers, you're not going to win a whole lot of games," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said.

TURNING POINT: After the Cavaliers erased a 16-point deficit to take a 59-58 lead midway through the third quarter, Ellis took over. He immediately buried a bank shot to give the Bucks the lead for good, then added a long 3-pointer and a driving layup as part of a personal 7-0 run. "Monta [Ellis] obviously had a hot hand and kept us in it offensively tonight," Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. "He really had it going." Ellis, who scored 11 points in the final 6:12 of the third to put the Bucks up by double digits, wound up with 33 points, six rebounds, four assists and six turnovers.

QUOTABLE II: "We mentioned from day one about protecting our home court. We mention it before almost every home game about giving everything we've got for the great fans we have here, but it's just not registering right now."

-- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott

HOT: The Bucks' four-game winning streak is their longest since April 2-7, 2012; it also brings their record to 6-5 on the road on the season, and moved them into a first-place tie with Chicago atop the Central Division. ... Milwaukee power forward Luc Mbah a Moute collected nine points, seven rebounds, a career-high six assists and a game-best four steals. "I thought [my career-high for assists] was higher than that," he said, laughing. "I have to work on that." ... NBA rebounding leader Varejao now has 15 games with at least 15 boards this season. The rest of the Cavaliers have a total of one combined. ... In four career games against the Bucks, Irving is averaging 27.5 points and 5.0 assists.

NOT: The Cavaliers are 1-7 in their last eight games, 2-11 in their last 13 contests and 3-17 in their last 20 games. ... Cleveland is 3-7 at home this season. ... Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson had a third-quarter hoop wiped out after a video review during the next timeout. The second-year pro finished with five points on 1-for-5 shooting, making him 3-for-12 from the floor with 10 points over his last three games. ... Cleveland point guard Jeremy Pargo, who made 11 starts while Irving was injured, was a DNP. ... Jennings missed 15 of his 20 field goal attempts for the Bucks, including going 2-for-9 on 3s.

QUOTABLE III: "Monta was really aggressive with the ball against them, but we all were aggressive in building a lead in the first half. But the biggest thing was we picked up more defensively in the second half. We played great on defense."

-- Bucks power forward Ersan Ilyasova

GOOD MOVE: Cavaliers fans greeted Bucks power forward Drew Gooden with a chant of "Drewwwww" when he was introduced. Gooden, who averaged 11.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in 292 games with Cleveland from 2004-2008, is one of the most beloved former Cavaliers. "I have so many great memories from Cleveland," Gooden said. "Those playoff battles with Detroit, especially the series that we won to advance to the [2007] NBA Finals, were the highest level of basketball I've ever been part of." Gooden played eight minutes, scoring two points with three rebounds.

BAD MOVE: The Cavaliers were careless with the basketball from start to finish -- despite hosting a Bucks team that was vulnerable and without point guard Beno Udrih (right ankle sprain), small forward Tobias Harris (right elbow laceration), and shooting guard Mike Dunleavy Jr. (left knee bruise). Milwaukee shooting guard Doron Lamb (flu), and centers Larry Sanders (sinus infection) and Ekpe Udoh (left wrist sprain) did play, but were limited. "The key to the game was getting off to a good start tonight because we were short of bodies," Mbah a Moute said.

NOTABLE: Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters (left ankle sprain) missed his seventh game in a row, but is expected to play Tuesday against Toronto. The fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft was injured on Dec. 1 in a double-overtime loss to Portland. ... Cleveland small forward Omri Casspi (stomach flu) sat out his second straight game. ... Varejao left the game in the second quarter with a bruised left lower leg, but X-rays were negative and the Brazilian Olympian returned to the court early in the third.

UP NEXT: For the Bucks, Saturday vs. L.A. Clippers, Tuesday vs. Indiana, Wednesday @ Memphis. For the Cavaliers, Saturday @ New York, Tuesday vs. Toronto, Wednesday @ Boston.