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The Cavaliers played easily their best quarter of the season on Friday night. Unfortunately, it takes three more to beat the NBA’s hottest squad.
John Beilein’s young squad used a monster third period to bounce back from a 22-point deficit, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to just three in the fourth quarter. But Cleveland couldn’t quite close the deal, as the scorching Bucks ran off their 10th straight victory – 119-100 – improving to 16-3 on the season.
In that productive third quarter, the Cavaliers drilled 10 three-pointers – shooting 62 percent from the floor and 67 percent from beyond the arc, handing out 10 assists without committing a single turnover. In the process, they outscored Milwaukee by 10 and got themselves back into the ballgame after digging themselves an early hole.
After combining to pile up 13 of Cleveland’s 25 turnovers in Wednesday’s loss to Orlando, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland were both good with the ball on Friday – combining for just a pair of turnovers compared to 11 assists.
Garland continued to shoot the ball well – leading Cleveland with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-7 from long-range, adding six assists. It’s the second time in a week that this June’s No. 5 overall pick has topped the 20-point plateau; averaging 16.0 points per over that five-game stretch.
Sexton added 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, adding five assist and a game-high three steals while committing just a single miscue in 32 minutes of work.
Cedi Osman posted his season-high, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep, to go with four assists and a pair of steals. Kevin Love chipped in with 16 points – half of which he scored in the third quarter – adding eight boards and a game-high seven assists.
Tristan Thompson posted his 11th double-double of the season – tallying 11 points and a game-high 13 boards.
Larry Nance Jr. had his double-double streak halted at three straight contests, but he was still outstanding on Friday night – coming off the bench to finish with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, to go with nine boards and a blocked shot.
Nance, Thompson and Love all took their turns trying to stop the league’s reigning MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo – but he still notched his 19th straight double-double to start the season, netting a game-high 33 points on 14-of-26 shooting, adding 12 boards, two steals and a pair of swats.
No other Bucks’ starter finished with more than 11 points, but their bench nearly lapped the Cavs’ reserves – outscoring them, 52-26, on the evening.
Collin Sexton catches the Bucks sleeping early in the third quarter, picking off the in-bound pass and throwing it down at the other end.
Friday’s contest went from a potential home blowout to a post-Thanksgiving thriller after the Wine and Gold’s big third period.
The Cavaliers started the second stanza trailing by 20 – 67-47. Darius Garland hit a triple to start the scoring, but the Bucks scored five straight to take a 22-point edge. Cleveland kept whittling away and found itself down by 15 with 4:35 to play in the period.
From there, the Cavs used a 12-6 run to finally cut the Bucks’ lead to single-digits – and Jordan Clarkson’s triple with 41 seconds to play in the quarter got them within eight.
In the fourth, Cleveland was within three with 2:20 to play, but couldn’t get a defensive rebound when they needed one as the Bucks pulled away late.
5,003 … total rebounds that Tristan Thompson has grabbed over the course of his eight-plus seasons with the Wine and Gold – joining LeBron James (6,190), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (5,904) and Brad Daugherty (5,227) as the only Cavaliers to reach that threshold.
With 1,963 career offensive rebounds, Thompson trails only Ilgauskas (2,336) for the top mark in franchise history; he needs nine defensive boards to top Hot Rod Williams (3,049) and move into the team’s all-time top four.
Cedi Osman, on Cleveland handing out a season-high 32 assists …
"I think sharing the ball just involves everybody in that offense and I think everybody enjoys it. Those 32 assists (were) our season high. We just have to keep working. We have a lot of talented guys, we have a lot of guys who really pass and we just have to, like I said, keep learning from this game and move on. But as long as we share the basketball, I think we’re one of the good teams."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
The Wine and Gold get a rare three-day break after playing every other night to start their prolonged homestand – welcoming the Pistons to town next Tuesday to tip off the month of December.
Cleveland wraps up the six-game stay next Friday night when they welcome the Magic to town for the second time on the homestand and final time this season. The following night, the Wine and Gold travel to Philly, followed by a date with the Celtics next Monday in Beantown.