Love to miss Cavaliers’ meeting with Bucks (Dec 20, 2016)

MILWAUKEE — Kevin Love will be unavailable Tuesday when the Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Milwaukee for a rematch with the Bucks at the Bradley Center.

Love tweaked his left knee Saturday in the Cavs’ 119-108 victory over the Lakers and didn’t practice Monday. Later in the day, the team announced that Love suffered a contusion in the knee.

“He took a blow to the knee, knee-to-knee, and it swelled up on him and it’s kind of stiff,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Richard Jefferson is expected to start in place of Love, who has scored at least 20 points or more in each of his last six games.

Love sat out the fourth quarter of the Cavs’ last meeting with Milwaukee — as did the rest of Cleveland’s star-laden lineup as the Bucks took control early and cruised to a 118-101 victory on Nov. 29, a loss that started a season-high three-game losing streak.

The game was tied at 65 early in the third, but Milwaukee closed the quarter on a 27-9 run, leaving Lue to turn to his reserves.

“I just wanted to do it,” Lue said afterward. “I just didn’t like how we were playing.”

In that contest, Giannis Antetokounmpo put up his best effort of the season — to that point — tying his career high with 34 points and added 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals and a pair of blocks.

“They’re a young, athletic team. When Giannis (Antetokounmpo) gets it off the glass, when Jabari gets it, they push it and they push it hard so we got to get two guys back, a third guy back if he’s not in the paint to crash the boards. We got to set our defense in transition. That’s the biggest thing for us.”

Milwaukee also got 18 from Jabari Parker, who has averaged 20.7 points on 51.6 percent shooting in his last 10 games, a streak that began against the Cavs.

He knows that Cleveland won’t take the Bucks lightly this time around.

“I think they’re going to take this game with a lot of emphasis,” Parker said. “I feel like I do have to change my approach because you’ve got to expect the best out of them. We have to be a little more conscious of how they’re going to play out there.”

The game is the first half of a back-to-back, home-and-home set between the two teams. They’ll meet again Wednesday night in Cleveland. It’s Milwaukee’s second consecutive back-to-back, home-and-home set; the Bucks swept a pair of games against the Bulls Friday and Saturday night last week.

Both of those games were high-energy routs for the Bucks.

“We were able to win the first game and we just carried the energy over,” center Greg Monroe said. “Hopefully at home again for the first game, we can use the home-court advantage and try to get another win and be ready for the second night.”