In the second half of Friday night’s game against the Bucks, after trailing by as many 15 points, the Cavaliers made two comeback attempts.
The first came in the third quarter, when a 7-0 run had the Cavs down by seven with 2:12 to play in the quarter. But the Bucks ripped off a 7-0 run of their own to end the quarter when the Cavs went small. The results was 14-point deficit for Cleveland heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cavs got as close as five points with 4:15 to go in the fourth quarter after Cedi Osman made a three-pointer. But, again, the Cavs couldn’t sustain the comeback and trailed by 12 again when Larry Drew called a timeout with 2:07 in the game. They never got close enough to make the Bucks sweat again.
The end result: Bucks 114, Cavs 102
Jordan Clarkson led the Cavs with 23 points off the bench. Rodney Hood added 19 points, while Larry Nance added 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Bucks forward Giannis Anteokounmpo led all scorers with 44 points, a new career-high.
A major reason the Cavs were done in were offensive rebounds by the Bucks that led to easy baskets. Anteokounmpo alone had three putbacks in the fourth quarter and Milwaukee had five as a team in the quarter. Ex-Cav George Hill had one of the offensive rebounds when Osman missed a boxout with 3:15 to go and Hill made the easy layup.
The Cavs also hurt themselves with untimely turnovers. The most glaring one of the night have been Nance Jr. throwing the ball away with 4:51 to go. He had just forced an Eric Bledsoe miss and was pushing the ball up the floor with the Cavs having a 5 vs. 4 advantage. But he threw the ball out over the scorer’s table; the Bucks capitalized with Brook Lopez drawing a foul on Hood and making both three throws to put them up by eight.
The Cavs finished the night with 16 turnovers, leading to 19 Bucks points. Milwaukee committed 10 turnovers, leading to five Cleveland points.
With the loss, the Cavs are now 7-22 — a full 12.5 games behind the division-leading Bucks. They next play on Sunday at home against the 76ers. Tipoff is at 3:30 p.m.