A strange night, last night was.
I fell asleep during the Milwaukee Bucks game in Cleveland. I’m good for that from time to time, but I didn’t even feel bad this time. At one point during the third quarter I confidently tweeted about how good the Bucks looked. After that, I thought something about how it was nice that the Bucks could show they were so clearly better than the Cavs.
I stayed up just long enough to see Kyrie Irving run off a few baskets and force the Bucks to call a timeout up 82-68. After that, I was out.
It wasn’t a super smooth sleep. I’m thinking I didn’t get a wide enough couch, but I don’t know that they come any wider. I’m a pretty thin dude, so it’s a weird thing for me to be thinking about. At any rate, I was in and out of sleep with the game on in the background. I think I heard something about the game being over, and I vaguely remember something about a comeback, but I was pretty confident news was good.
When I finally woke up, I didn’t even check the box right away. I was really, really sure that the Bucks won.
The surprise I felt when I did check the box score was genuine. How did that happen?
Well, from the time I fell asleep (3:31 to play in the third quarter) through the end of the game, Milwaukee shot 10-for-32. Meanwhile, the Cavs went 15-for-22. Irving had 17 points but it was an improved Cavs bench, featuring Mo Speights and way more Luke Walton that really did the Bucks in. A 46-22 Cavs run to clos the game carried the Cavs to a win.
|Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +16
He hasn’t exactly been making his presence felt on the both ends lately. Since Boylan’s taken over, Mbah a Moute’s numbers have taken a bit of a dip. That could be a function of his move to the three, where he generally seems less productive/involved offensively. He was getting to the line a ton earlier this season (3.6 FTA per game), but has only taken 13 free throws in nine games (1.4 FTA per game) under Boylan, largely playing the three.
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 39 MIN | 11-21 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 30 PTS | +1|
|Larry Sanders, C 34 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +2
Irving froze Sanders on a big play late. With the Cavs up three, Irving got a pick from Speights and attacked towards the hoop. He’s so quick and such a good finisher that Sanders had to retreat as if he were going to head to the rim. The space he gave Irving allowed Kyrie to pull up calmly for an elbow jumper. Jennings couldn’t make it back to him in time and he drained a very simple shot to effectively end the game. This was something Sanders had to deal with all night. Also, my 30 minute theory was nicely shot down over the last 15 minutes when the Cavs exploded and Milwaukee’s defense struggled.
|Monta Ellis, PG 42 MIN | 8-20 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | 0
Ellis and Jennings both made shots that kept the Bucks up 17 after a Milwaukee timeout following an Irving three to cut the lead to 14 at that 3:31 mark. Both Bucks’ guards would make only one more shot the rest of the way, BECAUSE OF COURSE.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 5-19 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 12 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -13
Is it February already? At one point Jennings was 0-for-5 from the field. Then he made 4-of-5 threes and it seemed like he was coming around. He’d go 1-for-10 the rest of the way. He and the rest of the Bucks also were destroyed by Irving late in the third and again late in the fourth. SO MUCH FOR THAT ARGUMENT ABOUT HOW GOOD JENNINGS WAS HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH IRVING.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 29 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -21
It’s weird when Luke Walton outplays Mike Dunleavy. Milwaukee’s top reserve was off from the field and it left the Bucks bench largely absent of scoring prowess.
|Beno Udrih, PG 22 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +3
Not a terrible game overall for Udrih, but he had a terrible pass on a fastbreak that cost the Bucks a two on one opportunity and, like so many others, he was ate up by Irving.
Two Things We Saw
- I mentioned the Cavs bench before, but to put a number on it, they tallied 24 of Cleveland’s final 45 points. The trade of a guy who didn’t play for Speights and Ellington seemed to have paid off. And Cleveland didn’t even have the possibly effective Josh Selby active. Hurrah for salary dumps!
- If the Bucks weren’t in the Eastern Conference, losses like this would be a potential disaster as the season begins to wind down. Of course, they are in the East and this isn’t a disaster as far as playoff spots go. But it’s a bummer that even with SO MUCH MOMENTUM the Bucks can’t go into Cleveland and hold on to a 20-point lead. But that’s the reality of the Jennings/Ellis Bucks.