"(It was a) good performance by our team, especially after the two
losses," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "I thought our guys stepped up.
We looked a little tired since we've got back from the West Coast
Most of the fans weren't even settled in their seats when Brown
called a timeout.
He jumped all over his players.
Brown didn't want a replay of the Cavs' last two losses.
"Our physicality wasn't there," Brown said. "I was more concerned
with our defensive presence. They didn't feel us. That was my
The Cavs quickly ran off a 17-0 run and never trailed again. They
limited the Bucks to 40.5 percent shooting from the field.
"Defense is going to win us games," Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said.
"We did a great job of competing."
Swingman Khris Middleton had a team-high 13 points for the Bucks
(8-34), who have now lost 10 of their last 11. Swingman Giannis
Antetokounmpo added 10 points.
Center Anderson Varejao had a game-high 16 points, four rebounds,
three assists and two steals.
He converted 8-of-11 shots from the field, 4-of-4 in the third
quarter when the Cavs (16-27) moved to a 71-55 advantage. Almost all
his shots came on perimeter jumpers from the elbows.
Power forward Tristan Thompson recorded his 21st double-double of
the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Irving, who will start in the All-Star Game, posted his fifth
double-double with 10 points, 10 assists and three rebounds. More
importantly, Irving had no turnovers in 28 minutes.
"He's making good decisions with the basketball," Brown said.
Irving said he liked the energy in which the Cavs played.
"The last two games, we came out sluggish," he said. "But tonight we
took care of business."
Milwaukee coach Larry Drew wasn't thrilled with his team's effort.
"I was expecting our guys to come out here with a little more
firepower, particularly after an impressive win against Detroit (on
Wednesday)," he said. "(The Cavs) were clearly the aggressor from
start to finish. We didn't play with a sense of urgency (in the
second half), and that's clearly on me. That's my responsibility."
The Cavs abused the Bucks on the boards, 52-34, including a
21-8 edge on the offensive glass.
"They really crash the offensive glass," Bucks forward Ersan
Ilyasova said. "Thompson and Varejao, that's their strengths.
It's all about finding guys and boxing them off. It's all about
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The Cavs are now 1-2 on their five-game homestand that concludes
"I'll take this every game," Brown said. "It was great,
listening to our guys talking on the bench. They were saying,
'Keep taking care of business. Keep playing the right way.' This
is a good learning process for us."
Brown said the defensive effort was spearheaded by Irving.
"Kyrie made Brandon Knight work tonight," he said. "He did a
nice job of trying to stay up in him."
Knight was limited to just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Guard Dion Waiters had 13 points for the Cavs, 10 in the second
quarter. He had eight rebounds and three assists.
Backup center Tyler Zeller added eight points, nine assists and
"He's been playing out of his mind," Irving said of the
7-footer. "He's doing everything we've asked of him."
The Bucks, who have the worst record in the NBA, was what the
doctor ordered for the Cavs.
"After coming off two losses, our guys stepped up," Brown said.
"We've looked a little tired after the West Coast trip."
NOTES: Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving is campaigning for an invitation
to the 3-point shootout during All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
"There have only been a few back-to-back champs," Irving said.
"If they ask me to come back, I'll definitely come back." ...
Irving was named a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star
Game and was among 28 players on Team USA's national team on
Thursday. "It's a great honor to be part of the U.S. Olympic
roster and being a starter," he said. "It's a dream come true,
something I've dreamt about as a kid." ... Cavs C Anderson
Varejao came into Friday's game 15 rebounds shy of 4,000 in his
career. ... The Bucks have been going big with 6-10 Ekpe Udoh,
6-10 Ersan Ilyasova, 6-11 John Henson and 6-9 Giannis
Antetokounmpo in the starting lineup. "It gives us more
flexibility," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. ... Udoh sprained his
right ankle in the second quarter and didn't return. ... Bucks G
O.J. Mayo (virus) and C Larry Sanders (cold) aren't completely
healthy, but Drew said they'd play. ... Drew's son, Larry II, is
playing for Sioux Falls in the D-League. He recently faced
Antetokounmpo's 6-7 brother, Thanasis, who is playing for
Delaware. "(Thanasis is) a different player," coach Drew said.
"He's really active. He's athletic."
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