The Cavaliers have beat the Bucks twice this season in their early two meetings, and currently are riding a five-game win streak immediately following their thirteen-game win streak being snapped. This is arguably the hottest team in the league outside of Houston, but the Bucks always present a challenge.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (23-8) at Milwaukee Bucks (15-13)
When: 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Enemy Blog: Brew Hoop
TV: NBA TV
Online: Fox Sports Go
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT - hip), Derrick Rose (OUT - ankle), Iman Shumpert (OUT - left knee)
Bucks injuries: Jabari Parker (OUT - knee), Matthew Dellavedova (OUT - knee), Tony Snell (OUT - knee), Mirza Teletovic (OUT - knee), Jason Terry (OUT - calf)
Three keys to the game:
- The Bucks are really banged up right now on a team that doesn’t have a ton of depth in the first place. The Bucks four most important players (excluding Jabari Parker, who hasn’t played this year) are playing in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, but they’re really thin on the interior and the wings. With Greg Monroe shipped out of town for Bledsoe, Kevin Love should be able to feast against what remains, whether it’s John Henson or Thon Maker.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently averaging 37 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists against the Cavs this season. The team doesn’t really have any strong answers for him, and he’s just way too big for Jae Crowder to guard. LeBron can give him some problems, but that requires him to be engaged. Last I checked, it’s still December. Expect a big night from the Greek Freak.
- Dwyane Wade’s efficiency has dipped over the past couple games as he’s dealt with some lingering knee pain. They’ve survived without him playing great, but when playing above average competition, it would be helpful to have Wade be at his best to help buoy those second units. He hasn’t been awful, but a return to form would be good to see.
Kevin Love owns the Bucks, and he has continued to do so this year. John Henson and Thon Maker struggle to fight Love out of good post position, and the Bucks collective team defense loses him on cuts and on flare-outs for three-pointers. He’s averaging 24.5 points, 14 rebounds and 4.5 assists against Milwaukee. If he continues that production, the Cavs will be in good shape.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers manage to win their third straight against the Bucks and their sixth straight overall. Cavs 111, Bucks 108.