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The challenges have kept coming. And, as they have all season long, the Cavaliers have answered each one.
On Wednesday night, the Wine and Gold welcomed a Milwaukee team that was as whole as they’ve been in a while, but it mattered little – with Cleveland blowing things open right after intermission and coasting to the finish line, taking the 115-99 signature win at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The lopsided win – the Cavs’ second straight against the World Champions – helped Cleveland complete a sweep of its three-game homestand, simultaneously sending Milwaukee to its fourth straight road defeat while passing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings, where the Wine and Gold sit just a game-and-a-half out of the top spot.
The victory was also the Cavaliers eighth win in their last nine outings, improved their mark to 10-2 in their last dozen games at home and 10-3 overall during the month of January. It was also Cleveland’s 15th win of the season against a team over the .500 mark and the 20th contest holding an opponent under the century mark.
Riding a three-game win streak of their own, the Bucks put up 35 points in the opening quarter, taking a double-digit lead late in the period. But behind a big effort from their bench, the Cavaliers stormed back – outscoring Milwaukee by 17 points in the second and using a big run to start the third to tilt the contest their way.
Kevin Love and Cedi Osman’s big night was the reason Cleveland’s second unit was able to dominate Milwaukee’s, 57-15, on Wednesday night.
Love finished with a team-high 25 points – going 9-for-16, including 5-of-9 from deep, adding nine boards, two assists and a pair of steals. Osman was almost as good, snapping out of a mini-slump with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting, including 6-of-14 from long-range, adding four assists and two steals.
Darius Garland continued his rock-solid play at the point – following up with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, adding a game-high eight assists and a steal.
Evan Mobley chipped in with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting to go with seven boards and a pair of blocked shots while Jarrett Allen returned to notch his 26th double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Dean Wade had another solid showing in the starting lineup – finishing with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-3 from long-range.
The Bucks were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who tallied 26 points in the loss. All three of Milwaukee’s frontline players topped the 20-point mark, but the Bucks were cursed by 19 turnovers and went ice-cold after a hot start from deep – canning six of their first eight triples before going 3-for-23 the rest of the way.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Evan Mobley slams the hammer down off no look dish from Darius Garland against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wednesday’s contest had two distinct turning points.
The first came early in the second quarter, after the Bucks had taken a double-digit lead during the first. With Milwaukee up 11, 37-26, Cleveland caught fire from beyond the arc. Cedi Osman drilled back-to-back bombs to start the run, and when Kevin Love canned his fourth triple of the first half, the Cavs completed a 20-8 run and took their first lead of the night.
Overall, the Cavs would go on to outscore the Bucks, 39-22, in the second quarter.
Cleveland’s second big push came immediately after intermission – using an 11-2 run to start the second half to take a 17-point lead less than two minutes into the second stanza. The Cavaliers didn’t trail again the rest of the way.
By the Numbers - 22.5, .536, .524 … Kevin Love’s scoring average – along with his shooting percentage from the floor (15-for-28) and from long-range (11-for-21), respectively, over his last two games off the bench.
With Wednesday’s 25-point performance, the 14th-year man has now tallied double-figure scoring in 29 of his 39 appearances as a reserve this season, with eight games topping the 20-point plateau.
”We take challenges. We don’t run from anybody, we don’t back down. And we give everybody our best shot. To me, the most impressive thing is that it seems to be somebody different every time. For Cedi and Kevin to come off the bench and do what they did, they blew the game open with their shot-making. And then we settled in defensively and figured out what we were trying to get done. But the team effort is what it’s about.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
After wrapping up their three-game homestand with Wednesday night’s one-sided win over the Bucks, the Wine & Gold close out the month of January with a back-to-back – part of three of their next four on the road.
On Sunday evening, the Cavs travel to Detroit for a showdown with the Pistons before returning home for a Monday night meeting with the Pelicans. Cleveland then hits the road for a pair – traveling to Houston next Wednesday in their final contest across the Mississippi this year before heading to Charlotte for a Friday night matchup with the high-octane Hornets.