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Winning two straight games would have been a nice accomplishment for the Wine and Gold. Unfortunately, that meant knocking off a team that had rattled off 17 straight.
The Bucks extended that streak to 18 on Saturday, pulling away from Cleveland in the second quarter and never looking back – taking the 125-108 decision on Saturday night at Fiserv Forum.
Khris Middleton and the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, combined for 53 points – each doing so in less than 24 minutes of work – as Milwaukee won its third straight over the Cavs this year with the final meeting slated for April 11.
Going against a squad that hasn’t lost a game since November 8, the Wine and Gold went toe-to-toe with Milwaukee through the early-going. But a second-quarter surge gave the Bucks a big lead at the half and they cruised after intermission.
Cleveland canned 15 three-pointers and handed out 27 assists, but the Bucks outdid the Cavs on the break, 35-15, and forced 18 turnovers.
The Cavs’ two leading scorers came off the bench on Saturday – Kevin Porter Jr., who finished with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor and 6-of-8 from the stripe, and Jordan Clarkson, who chipped in with 13 points, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 5-of-9 from the field overall.
Kevin Love tallied his 11th double-double of the season with 12 points and a team-high 10 boards. Tristan Thompson was right behind with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Darius Garland rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points and a team-high five assists.
Garland tosses Porter Jr. the alley-oop from near-center court in Saturday's showdown against the Bucks.
The Cavaliers hung tough with the East-leading Bucks through the first quarter, trailing by only six after one. They kept the pressure on in the second – and when Jordan Clarkson drilled a 15-footer with 8:08 to play, Cleveland found itself up a deuce, 37-35.
But that was as good as it would get for the good guys.
Brook Lopez tied the game on Milwaukee’s next possession and things spiraled from there, with the Bucks outscoring John Beilein’s young squad, 34-14, over the next eight minutes, taking an 18-point edge at intermission and coasting to the finish line in the second stanza.
58 … bench points the Cavaliers combined for on Saturday night in Milwaukee – a season-high with every reserve but Alfonzo McKinnie getting into the scoring column.
It was the second time in Cleveland’s last three games that Cleveland’s reserves topped the 50-point mark. At 36.5ppg from their second unit, the Cavaliers are seventh in the Eastern Conference in bench scoring.
Coach John Beilein, on Saturday’s loss in Milwaukee …
”We have to do a better job there collectively. All of a sudden, that lead can explode on you in a minute. It happened again in the second half too. I thought we fought a little bit. We did get some guys in there. But what can I say, they’re a tremendous, tremendous team and we’re playing a lot of those, so we just got to grow from it.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
After playing four of their last five on the road, the Cavaliers wrap up their current roadie on Monday night north of the border – taking on Pascal Siakam and the World Champion Raptors in Toronto.
Following their Monday matchup, the Cavs come home for the holidays – welcoming Charlotte to town on Wednesday night, followed by the Grizzlies on Friday and the Hawks the following Monday to close out the homestand.