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Cavs Handle Bucks, Prepare for Play-In

RECAP

The Cavs won wire-to-wire on Sunday afternoon against the Milwaukee Bucks, 133-115, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Wine & Gold were up 26 after one quarter and continued to stretch the lead to nearly 40 in the third quarter. Kevin Love Had a huge first quarter, scoring 18 points. Love finished the night 32 points, a game-high. Lauri Markkanen had an efficient night, scoring 23 points in 21 minutes on eight made field goals (four triples).

Garland played in 23 minutes to total 11 points and eight assists. Evan Mobley had 18 and 11 in his second game back in the lineup, with Cedi Osman added in 15 points. Rajon Rondo provided 13 assists off the bench, a game-best. Up next for the Cavs after finishing game 82 is the Play-In Tournament, happening on Tuesday.

Full recap to come.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

WRAP-UP

On a Sunday afternoon that promised a slew of Play-In possibilities, the Wine & Gold come into the contest with one simple goal: Take care of business.

That goal was achieved immediately, with the Cavaliers coming out of the locker room on fire and never letting up – crushing the shorthanded Bucks, 133-115, at Quicken Loans Arena to advance to the 7-8 Game of the Play-In Tournament, taking on the Nets on Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

With very little to play for themselves, the Bucks – who’ll wrap up the regular season in the East’s 2nd-seed with Sunday’s loss – were without almost all their regulars. Jrue Holiday was the only Milwaukee regular to see action in the loss, surrounded by Jordan Nwora, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jevon Carter and Sandro Mamukelashvili in the starting lineup.

With the Bucks resting their rotational guys, the Cavaliers jumped all over the World Champs – opening up a 26-point lead after one period and (after a brief fourth-quarter scare) barely looking back, winning the season series against Milwaukee and improving to 7-1 against Central Division foes at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse this season.

Kevin Love closed an outstanding campaign in style and was all business from tipoff – drilling five of his eight three-pointers in the first quarter, going 5-of-6 in the period and 8-of-11 on the night, leading both teams with 32 points. Love also added his NBA-leading 12th double-double off the bench – snagging a team-high-tying 10 boards in the win.

Evan Mobley, in his second game back after missing five with a sprained left ankle, grabbed 10 rebounds of his own, adding 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and leading both squads with four blocks in just 22 minutes of work.

Lauri Markkanen wrapped up a rock-solid offensive stretch to finish the regular season, finishing with 23 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-for-7 from deep to go with seven boards.

Darius Garland helped get Cleveland off to its hot start and did all his scoring in the opening quarter – netting 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, adding eight assists in the win.

Cedi Osman came off the bench to tally 15 points and Rajon Rondo led both teams with 13 assists, with reserves Lamar Stevens and Moses Brown netting eight points apiece. Brown, who inked a standard NBA contract earlier in the day, finished 4-of-4 from the floor.

The Bucks were led by the little-used Mamukelashvili, who set career-highs in scoring and rebounding, leading Milwaukee in both categories on Sunday – finishing with 28 points and a game-high 13 boards.

Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.

FEATURED HIGHLIGHT

Evan Mobley pump fakes then rises up for a two-handed dunk all over a Bucks defender late in the first quarter.

TURNING POINT

Sunday’s outing was one of those games in which the turning point occurred at the opening tip. The Bucks rested their starters; the Cavaliers needed the win – and this one was over by the end of the opening period.

In that first quarter, the Wine & Gold tied a franchise high – piling up 46 points on 15-of-25 shooting, including 10-of-15 from three-point range – and taking a 26-point edge into the second period.

The Bucks would mount a fourth-quarter comeback that got them to within a dozen midway through period, but J.B. Bickerstaff reinserted his starters to seal the deal from there.

BY THE NUMBERS

173 … three-pointers that Kevin Love has drilled off the bench this season, most by a Cavalier reserve in franchise history and second among all bench players in the NBA this season (trailing only former Cavalier and the league’s reigning Sixth Man, Jordan Clarkson).

The 14th-year man from UCLA, who drilled 57 three-pointer in the month of December alone, leads all NBA reserves in double-doubles (12) is second in rebounding (7.2rpg) and sixth in scoring (13.4ppg).

On Sunday afternoon, Love became the first player in the shot clock era to net at least 30 points and 10 boards in 15 or fewer minutes.

QUOTABLE

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, on his young players about to get their first taste of the postseason …

"These opportunities – and this is what I want our guys to understand – they’re not promised, they’re not guaranteed. We have guys on this team, it took them six, seven years to reach the Playoffs. Me, personally, it was my ninth season before I had the opportunity to compete in the Playoffs. So, this isn’t something where if you’re around the league, it’s guaranteed and promised to you. So, I want our guys to appreciate it, and I want them to get a taste of it and that desire to always get back."

CALLS OF THE GAME

Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.

UP NEXT

With Sunday’s critical victory, the Cavaliers will hit the road for the first Play-In Game in team history – heading to Brooklyn for a quick rematch with Kyrie, Kevin Durant and the Nets on Tuesday night.

If the Wine & Gold can get the win, it’ll advance to the Eastern Conference Playoffs in the 7th-seed. If not, they’ll return home to host a Friday night meeting against the winner of the 9-10 Game betwixt Atlanta and Charlotte.