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Wrap-Up -- Despite being shorthanded many times already this season, the Cavaliers have routinely competed through four quarters. On Monday night in Milwaukee, however, they were never in it.
The Bucks – playing without All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (out with a sore neck) – took a double-digit lead late in the first quarter and proceeded to go wire-to-wire, handing Cleveland the lopsided, 108-92, decision in the franchise’s first visit to the state-of-the-art Fiserv Forum.
After getting off to the sluggish start, the Cavaliers – who never led on Monday – used a quick push early in the second quarter to get as close as six, but by the midway point of the period, the Bucks were up 20 and spent the rest of the evening protecting their cushion.
The Cavaliers featured five players in double-figures – three of those off the bench.
Larry Nance Jr. led the Wine & Gold with 16 points, going 8-of-12 from the floor, adding seven boards, two assists and a pair of steals.
Collin Sexton bounced back from a rough start – netting all 15 of his points in the second stanza after taking the collar on eight shot attempts in the first half. On the night, the Young Bull went 5-for-18 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long-distance, to go with four boards and a pair of assists.
Tristan Thompson tallied 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and six boards, but he was forced to leave the game in the second half after a foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of the night. Thompson seemed relatively unconcerned about the injury in the postgame locker room.
Nance Jr. scored a team-high 16 points and a couple of showtime dunks in Monday's loss to Milwaukee.
After getting the surprise start on Saturday night against Washington, Jaron Blossomgame came off the bench on Monday, but he was no less effective, posting an impressive double-double in just 25 minutes of work – finishing with 11 points and 10 boards, going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the line, adding two assists and a steal.
The only other Cavalier to notch double-figures was Matthew Dellavedova, playing for his old team against his old team, chipping in with 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting, adding four assists and a pair of rebounds in the loss.
The Bucks were paced by Eric Bledsoe, who doubled-up with 20 points and 12 boards – going 8-for-15 from the field, including 4-of-5 from long-range.
Overall, the Bucks drilled 15 triples on the night, beat up Cleveland on the boards, 58-46, and held them to just 38 percent shooting from the floor.
Turning Point -- This one got away from the Wine & Gold early.
After falling behind by double-digits in the opening quarter, the Cavaliers looked to make some headway in the second – with Jordan Clarkson connecting on two straight buckets and Jaron Blossomgame drilling a triple to cut the Bucks’ 13-point lead to six, 31-25.
But things went south from there – with Milwaukee going on a three-point barrage as part of a 19-7 run that put the Bucks up three touchdowns with just under five minutes to play in the first half.
The Bucks would proceed to hit 11 triples in that first half and were just as feisty after intermission – jumping on Cleveland early in the third and extending their edge to 29 midway through the period.
By the Numbers – 12.8, 7.3, .714, .500, .750 … Larry Nance Jr.’s scoring and rebounding averages – plus his shooting percentages from the floor (20-28), long-range (2-4) and the stripe (9-12) over his last four games, tallying double-figure scoring in each contest.
Quotable – Coach Larry Drew, on Monday’s disappointing loss in Milwaukee …
"We’re going to have some struggles, but we have to learn how to play through the struggles. We played well the other night, but we came out against a good Milwaukee team [and didn’t perform]. It’s a process, and I’m not going to get down on them and let them get down on themselves when they don’t play well. We have to learn how to play through it, and that’s just how it is."
Up Next -- Following Monday night’s loss in Milwaukee, the Cavaliers return to The Q for another three-game homestand. On Wednesday night, the Cavaliers welcome the Knicks to town for the first time this season. On Friday night, the Bucks make their first visit to Cleveland followed by an afternoon meeting with the Sixers on Sunday. The Cavaliers then hit the road for most of the remainder of the month – playing six of their final seven games in December away from The Q.