Social Nav Bar Overrides - v2019
Global Sub Nav - v2019
Blank Spacer - 20px
Wrap-Up -- Heading into the true homestretch of the season, the young Cavaliers have quickly become a team no contender wants to face.
Now 6-2 at home since the All-Star Break, the Wine & Gold dropped their third straight Eastern Conference Playoff team at The Q – this time the squad with the league’s best record – jumping out to an early lead and holding the shorthanded Bucks off late to take the 107-102 decision on Wednesday night.
Wednesday’s win over Milwaukee wasn’t that much different than the victory over Detroit two nights earlier – with Cleveland jumping out to a lead early and slamming the door late – each time at the hands of its surging rookie, Collin Sexton.
On Wednesday night, the Young Bull achieved something no other Cavaliers rookie has – registering his seventh straight game of at least 23 points – finishing with a team-best 25 points, going 10-of-18 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from long-range to go with three assists and a pair of rebounds.
Sexton notched eight of his 25 points in the fourth quarter – including a bomb from the corner with 1:42 remaining to extend Cleveland’s lead to two possessions and a driving layup one minute later to again extend the lead to five.
The Cavaliers have battled the injury bug all season long, but on Wednesday night (for a change) the Wine & Gold were the healthier club.
Milwaukee dressed just eight men on Wednesday – with five of their rotational players, including MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetokuonmpo, in street clothes.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, came into the contest with a healthy frontline for the first time since October – with Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson rejoining the lineup after missing five and 26 games, respectively.
Both big men had solid returns off the bench. Nance finished with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, adding seven boards, a team-high five assists, two steals and a pair of blocks. Thompson also tallied seven points on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting, adding six rebounds in the win.
Clarkson tallies his 63rd game scoring in double figures off the bench.
Jordan Clarkson had another solid outing – adding 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting to go with five boards, two assists and a pair of steals in 32 minutes of action.
Brandon Knight was the only other Cavalier in double-figures, chipping in with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, adding four assists and two rebounds.
Kevin Love and Ante Zizic tied for the team lead with 10 boards apiece. Love suffered a head-to-head collision with Eric Bledsoe late in the first half and was limited to just under three minutes in the second.
Zizic saved his best work for last – grabbing seven of his boards and scoring all eight of his points in the fourth quarter.
With the Greek Freak on the shelf nursing a sore ankle, fellow All-Star Khris Middleton shouldered the scoring load for Milwaukee – leading both squads with 26 points, going 10-for-21 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from long-range. Middleton also paced both teams with 12 boards.
Turning Point -- The Cavaliers led by 11 at half and Collin Sexton’s triple to open the second-half scoring put Cleveland up two TDs early in the second stanza. But Milwaukee made short work of Cleveland’s lead – going on a 21-6 run to take a one-point edge midway through the third.
Larry Drew’s young squad refused to fold, however, with Sexton drilling another trey to put the Cavs back in front.
Both squads would tangle for the remainder of the period – which ended with the game knotted at 81-apiece.
David Nwaba canned a pair of free throws followed by an Ante Zizic putback to start the scoring in the fourth – and the Cavaliers wouldn’t trail again the rest of the way.
By the Numbers – 63 … double-figure scoring games by Collin Sexton this year – tops among his rookie class – with 21 20-point outings in the mix. His seven straight 20-point outings is also the longest stretch by any NBA freshman this season.
Quotable – Collin Sexton, on breaking a Cavaliers rookie record …
”It’s pretty cool, but we got the win against the number one team (in the East), so that’s even better…I wasn’t even worried about it because when you start worrying about it, then you start pressing. I just let the game come to me, knocked down my open shots and whenever the ball came around, I just played.”
Up Next -- The Cavaliers will try to sweep the three-game homestand when they welcome Doc Rivers’ Clippers to The Q on Friday night. On Sunday afternoon, the Wine & Gold get back on the road – traveling to Milwaukee for their final meeting of the season against the Bucks. The following Tuesday, the Celtics come to town, followed by a five-game, nine-day West Coast trip that sees Cleveland travel to San Antonio, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento and Golden State. When they return, there are just two home games left to complete the 2018-19 season.