Balance leads Bucks over Cavs, 129-115
Milwaukee bench scores 50 in win
MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 21 points, George Hill added 19 and seven Milwaukee players finished in double figures as the Bucks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-112 on Monday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 29 minutes, Pat Connaughton added 17 points, Brook Lopez 16, and Wesley Matthews and Eric Bledsoe each finished with 14 points for Milwaukee.
Collin Sexton paced the Cavaliers with 18 points, while Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson each added 17.
Milwaukee led by as many as 16 points before Cleveland rallied and cut its deficit to 96-91 in the fourth quarter.
But Middleton and Lopez led a 28-12 run that pushed the Bucks’ lead to 124-103 with less than 4 minutes remaining. Middleton had 10 points in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Bucks pulled away.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer expressed concern over his team’s defense in his pregame comments. Milwaukee allowed 31 points in the first quarter as the Cavaliers shot 50% on the way to a one-point lead.
Connaughton came off the bench to give the Bucks a spark, scoring 11 points in the first minutes of the second quarter. He converted a three-point play off a nice feed from Antetokounmpo. After scoring on a drive, Connaughton sank a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 13-2 run.
The Bucks grabbed a 59-52 halftime lead behind Connaughton’s 14 points and 10 from Lopez.
Milwaukee hit 8 of 17 attempts from 3-point range.
Cavaliers: Former Bucks player John Henson played 8 minutes (3 points, 3 rebounds) in Cleveland’s 110-99 victory over Indiana on Saturday but suffered a strained right hamstring that could sideline him for a month. The Cavaliers acquired him from Milwaukee in a three-team deal last December, but he was out the rest of the season following wrist surgery. Henson and Ante Zizic (left foot plantar fasciitis) were out, leaving the Cavaliers thin in the frontcourt. … First-year Cleveland coach John Beilein is quite familiar with Bucks forward D.J. Wilson, who played for Beilein at Michigan. “He’s got so many tools with his length and overall ability,” Beilein said. “He can shoot; he can pass. Finding his place and staying healthy and all those things are going to be key for him.”
Bucks: Foul woes plagued Milwaukee in its first two games, and Antetokounmpo fouled out of both contests. Opponents are doing their best to draw fouls on the Bucks star or force a call by the officials. “I haven’t picked up on a strategy,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think Giannis can be more disciplined. He knows that. I have a ton of confidence that he can self-correct.”
Cavaliers: Host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
Bucks: Play at the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
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