Bucks 90, Cavaliers 86
The short-handed Milwaukee Bucks needed someone to step up
Monta Ellis gave them his best game of the season.
Ellis scored a season-high 33 points and the Bucks recorded
their season-high fourth straight win with a 90-86 victory over the
”Monta obviously had a hot hand and kept us in it
offensively,” Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. ”He obviously
had it going.”
Ellis, who scored 20 points in the second half, was 12 for 24
from the field and was at his best late. He scored 10 points in the
final 6 minutes of the third quarter after the Cavaliers took a
brief lead and then held off Cleveland’s last charge in the fourth
C.J. Miles’ 3-pointer cut the lead to 80-78 with 5:26 to play,
but Ellis scored on a layup, hit two free throws and made a jumper
to stretch the lead to 86-80 with 2:41 remaining.
”I just took what the defense gave me, it was pretty simple,”
he said. ”I tried to come off screens and make a play for myself
or for someone else.”
The Bucks, who recorded their ninth straight victory over the
Cavaliers, left three players in Milwaukee because of injuries.
Three others were either coming off an injury or an illness that’s
been going around the team.
Kyrie Irving scored 26 points to lead Cleveland, which committed
a season-high 27 turnovers. The Cavaliers have lost seven of eight
and 11 of 13.
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott admitted this was probably the most
frustrated he’s been over a loss all season and couldn’t explain
his team’s lack of energy.
”I have no idea,” Scott said. ”If I knew that I’d bottle it
up and make a lot of money because I have no idea. We had a good
day this morning going through stuff, a day off yesterday, so
there’s no reason in the world to come out with a lack of
Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, the league’s leading
rebounder, left the game in the first half after sustaining a
contusion to his lower left leg. X-rays taken at halftime were
negative and Varejao came back in the game early in the third
quarter. He had eight points and 18 rebounds.
Irving played 36 minutes despite taking a nasty fall in the
first quarter when he was knocked to the court on a hard foul while
going to the basket. He drove down the lane and was defended by Luc
Mbah a Moute and Larry Sanders. Mbah a Moute was called for the
foul, but it was a hit from Sanders that leveled Irving, who landed
on the left side of his face. He was down for a couple of minutes,
but got to his feet and took the free throws, making both.
Irving was removed at the end of the quarter and sat on the
bench with a towel on his face, but played his usual number of
minutes. A team spokesman said Irving underwent a precautionary
examination following the game, but would accompany the team to New
York for Saturday’s game against the Knicks.
Brandon Jennings added 16 points for the Bucks. Sanders (sinus
infection) and Ekpe Udoh (sprained left wrist), who both missed
Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, returned. Sanders had 10
points and 10 rebounds while Ersan Ilyasova had 11 points.
Milwaukee never trailed in the first half and built a 16-point
lead in the second quarter. The Bucks led 52-43 at halftime, but
Irving scored nine points in the first 4 minutes of the third
quarter to help the Cavaliers rally. Miles hit two free throws with
6:30 remaining in the third quarter to put Cleveland ahead 57-56,
the Cavaliers’ first lead of the game.
Miles scored 17 points for Cleveland, which has lost 17 of 20.
The Cavaliers broke a five-game losing streak by beating the Los
Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, but have dropped their last two.
A moment of silence was observed before the game for the victims
of the shooting incident at an elementary school in Newton,
NOTES: Rookie G Doron Lamb, who has had the flu, arrived in
Cleveland on a 4 p.m. flight and played 6 scoreless minutes in the
first half. … G Beno Udrih (sprained right ankle), F Tobias
Harris (lacerated right elbow) and G Mike Dunleavy (bruised left
knee) all remained in Milwaukee. … Cleveland G Dion Waiters
(sprained left ankle) missed his seventh straight game. Scott said
Waiters won’t play Saturday against New York, but is expected to
return Tuesday when Cleveland hosts Toronto. … F Omri Casspi
missed his second straight game with the stomach flu.