Varejao, Irving lead Cavaliers past Bucks 93-78
CLEVELAND (AP) — Anderson Varejao scored 16 points and Kyrie Irving had 10 points and 10 assists, leading lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 93-78 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
Varejao scored eight points to spark a 12-2 run that gave Cleveland a 64-46 lead late in the third quarter. Irving, named an All-Star starter for the first time Thursday, had seven assists in the second half.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 13 points. Brandon Knight, who leads the Bucks with a 15.9 average, was held to eight points and went 4 of 12 from the field.
The Bucks (8-34) have the worst record in the league and have lost 10 of 11.
Tristan Thomnpson scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds while Dion Waiters added 13 points for Cleveland. The Cavaliers lost the first two games of a five-game homestand after going 3-2 on a West Coast trip.
Cleveland was leading 54-44 when Varejao hit three jumpers and a running hook shot that helped push the lead to 18 points. Irving scored on a reverse layup and Thompson added a three-point play.
The Cavaliers used a 17-0 run in the first quarter to take a 23-11 lead. Irving scored five points while Luol Deng and Thompson added four apiece. The Bucks went 5:21 without scoring, a stretch that was finally broken on Middleton’s 3-pointer at the 2:56 mark. Milwaukee ended the quarter on a 12-1 run and trailed 24-23.
Waiters scored all 10 of his first-half points in the second quarter and Cleveland led 46-37 at halftime.
Milwaukee snapped a nine-game losing streak Wednesday against Detroit. The Bucks haven’t won two in a row since March 17-19 of last season.
Irving has also been selected for the USA Basketball player pool. He also plans on defending his 3-point title during All-Star weekend and said he would like to become the first player to win the contest three years in a row.
The Cavaliers are 5-4 since acquiring Deng, who scored nine points, from Chicago on Jan. 7.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 10 points for the Bucks. Ekpe Udoh, Milwaukee’s starting center, left the game late in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return. Larry Sanders took his place in the third quarter.
Cavaliers forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the draft, played the final 5:14 after seeing no action in the previous five games. He hit two free throws with 26 seconds to play and had three rebounds.
NOTES: Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said "we haven’t discussed in depth" sending Bennett to the NBA Development League. Brown thinks it will benefit Bennett more to remain with the team than it would to be sent down. "He’s not just our top pick, he’s the No. 1 pick in the draft, so he’s going to get plenty of opportunity, but as you guys can see I’m not going to give him a free pass," Brown said. … Sanders (head cold) and G O.J. Mayo (virus) returned after not playing against Detroit. … Milwaukee G Luke Ridnour picked up two fouls in 14 seconds in the first quarter.