Following wins over Western Conference opponents, two of the top teams in the East meet as the Cleveland Cavaliers welcome in the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the charge for Milwaukee in New Orleans on Monday night, scoring 42 points in the Bucks’ 128-119 win over the Pelicans. Antetokounmpo also grabbed 10 rebounds while going 17 for 22 at the free-throw line.
Brook Lopez scored 30 points and Jrue Holiday chipped in 18 along with 11 assists. Winners of three of their past four games, the Bucks were able to withstand a career night from Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 37 points while shooting 7 for 10 from beyond the arc.
Cleveland, which has won four in a row, cruised to a 122-99 win over the Utah Jazz at home on Monday night in Donovan Mitchell’s first game against his former team.
Mitchell led the way for Cleveland with 23 points, but it was a balanced effort with seven Cavaliers scoring in double-figures. Jarrett Allen finished with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double.
“This was about the team tonight,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after the win. “Donovan’s a hell of a player and deserves a lot of credit, but I thought everyone went out and played with a purpose and played the right way tonight.”
Entering Tuesday’s play, Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer with 31 points a game while also leading Milwaukee with 11.1 rebounds. Holiday leads the team with 7.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game and Lopez leads the NBA with 2.7 blocks per game.
Mitchell has been the scoring leader in his first season with Cleveland, ranking eighth in the NBA at 29.3 points per game. Allen leads the team with 10.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while Darius Garland ranks fifth in the NBA with eight assists per game.
Joe Ingles made his Bucks debut on Monday night after returning from an ACL injury he suffered with Utah in January. He finished 0 for 4 from the field with one rebound, one steal and two assists, including a lob to Antetokounmpo at the rim, in 15 minutes.
“It’s so great to have Joe on the court for us,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the win. “Credit to him, his work, the amount of time he’s put in all summer. It’s a big win for us to get Joe playing. I love it.”
Khris Middleton missed his second straight game for Milwaukee on Monday due to right knee soreness. He is considered day-to-day, and Budenholzer hopes to get him back during the club’s current five-game road trip.
For Cleveland, Lamar Stevens is day-to-day with knee soreness. Dean Wade, Dylan Windler and Ricky Rubio all remain out with injuries.
Milwaukee is up 2-0 in the four-game season series with their Cavaliers, winning 113-98 and 117-102 in Milwaukee. The Bucks have a chance to clinch the series after the Cavaliers took three of four last season.
–Field Level Media