MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brandon Knight scored 24 points and Ramon Sessions added 20 as Milwaukee held off the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-116 on Friday night, preserving the Bucks slim hopes of avoiding the NBA’s worst record.
The victory moved the Bucks to within two games of Philadelphia with three games remaining for each team. The 76ers lost at Memphis earlier in the night.
Dion Waiters had 23 points for Cleveland, while Jarrett Jack added 21 and Tristan Thompson 18.
Knight’s jumper from the right wing put the Bucks up for good at 107-106 with 4:09 remaining. Two free throws by Kyrie Irving pulled the Cavaliers within 111-110, but a basket by Khris Middleton and two free throws by Zaza Pachulia made it 115-110 with 1:44 remaining.
Milwaukee trailed 69-62 at the half, but Knight scored seven points to pace a 10-0 run that put the Bucks up 90-86 with 1:47 left in the third quarter. Cleveland scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to take a 96-92 lead on Jack’s 3-pointer.
The Bucks led 37-32 after the first quarter, surpassing their previous season high of 36 points in the opening period
Waiters scored 11 points to lead a 19-2 run by Cleveland midway through the second period. Jack’s 3 put the Cavaliers up 55-41 with 6:26 left in the half.
NOTES: Although G Waiters has moved back into the Cavaliers’ starting lineup, coach Mike Brown believes Waiters should still be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year. "He should deserve some credit, some recognition for Sixth Man of the Year," Brown said. "He was giving us a big lift coming off the bench. He can be effective in a lot of different roles for a team. Obviously, he’s been effective for us as a starter, but he was huge for us coming off the bench throughout the course of the season. Hopefully, he’ll get recognition for it."