Wrap-Up — So far this season, it’s been hard to know which Cavaliers team will show up on any given night. What we do know, however, is that the Wine & Gold definitely bring it for the Bucks.
For the second time this season, the fifth-straight occasion and 10th time in 13 meetings, the Cavaliers took care of Milwaukee – turning in another total team effort against the Bucks en route to the 124-119 win on Tuesday night at The Q.
Attempting to avoid the slow starts that’ve plagued them over recent weeks, the Cavaliers tallied 39 points in the first quarter – leading by as many as 13 points early in the second period. The Bucks would eventually knot the affair – and take the lead at half – but Tyronn Lue’s squad wasn’t forced to rally late just to stay in the game.
Shaking off a two-game funk – including a Sunday afternoon illness that sent him to the hospital – posting his best offensive game of the season, going off for 32 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Love didn’t attempt a single three-pointer, but went 14-of-16 from the stripe, adding a game-high 16 boards – half of those off the offensive glass – to go with three assists and a pair of steals.
LeBron James notched 10 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter – going 10-for-20 from the floor overall, including 2-of-4 from long-range, and was 8-of-10 from the line, adding a team-high nine assists, eight boards and three steals.
James and Love combined for 26 of Cleveland’s 38 free throw attempts – to Milwaukee’s 16 – on the night.
The Wine & Gold weathered a withering barrage by Giannis Antetokounmpo – who led both squads with 40 points, going 16-for-21 from the floor to go with 11 assists, seven boards and three steals.
The most welcome sight of the night for Cleveland was a confident J.R. Smith – looking like his old self, going 5-for-7 from long-distance, 7-of-12 overall, for a season-high 20 points.
Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose each notched double-figures in the win – finishing with 10 points apiece. Wade was 4-of-8 from the floor, adding three boards, three assists and a pair of blocks – including a big fourth quarter swat against the Greek Freak. Rose notched double-digits, the seventh time he’s done so in seven outings.
The Cavaliers shot an even 50 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc – taking only 18 shots from deep, a season-low. The Bucks, by contrast, shot 57 percent from the floor and attempted 30 triples. The Cavaliers made up the different at the stripe, hitting on 33-of-38 attempts.
Love and LBJ lead the way with 32 and 30 points, respectively.
Over the last three games, the Wine and Gold are 80-of-89 from the free throw line. And on Tuesday night, the Cavaliers committed just 13 turnovers, causing 17 that they converted into 24 points.
Turning Point — Instead of needing to mount a furious fourth quarter rally, the Cavaliers simply took care of business in the final period of Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, the Cavaliers came into the final 12 minutes up a single point. But Cleveland was sharp to start the fourth – with J.R. Smith’s fifth triple of the night capping a 7-1 run that put the Cavaliers up a touchdown with just under 10 minutes to play.
The Cavs would eventually bump that lead up to 11 before holding off Milwaukee’s final salvo down the stretch.
By the Numbers – 1,790 … three-pointers that J.R. Smith has connected on for his career, passing Rashard Lewis for 14th place on the all-time list. Standing between Swish and the Top 10: Dirk Nowitzki (1,795), Kobe Bryant (1,827), Chauncey Billups (1,830) and Joe Johnson (1,940).
Quotable – J.R. Smith, on his hot shooting night against Milwaukee …
“Everybody keeps telling me, ‘Be aggressive, take your shots,’ and fortunately for me, there’s just not too many shots I don’t think I’m open on. So I’ll shoot those and depending on how it works out, if it’s going to the right place or not, (I) just try to do something else, but fortunately I made my first three and it just trickled down.”
Up Next — After dropping the Bucks on Tuesday night, the Cavaliers make their longest trip of the young season, a four-stop junket beginning with a Texas two-step – taking on the James Harden, CP3 and the Rockets in a nationally-televised showdown on Thursday before facing off against the lowly Mavericks on Saturday night. The Cavaliers then head to the Big Apple for a rematch with early MVP candidate Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks on Monday night before closing out the trip on Wednesday night in Charlotte.
Calls of the Game