Give credit to the Cleveland Cavaliers: They were not an easy out on Saturday night in Milwaukee.
With Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Love, Dylan Windler, Dante Exum, Matthew Dellavedova and Kevin Porter Jr. all out for one reason or another, a short-handed Cavs team battled against the Bucks, but ultimately lost 100-90. Saturday’s game also marked the end of Cleveland’s six-game, 13-day road trip. The Cas finished with a 2-4 record in those games.
The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was dealing with a back issue.
Cleveland trailed 27-14 after one, with the offense having little success generating easy looks with neither Garland or Sexton available to run the offense. The second quarter, though, saw the Cavs go on a 14-0 run to get back in the game and were within single digits before the Bucks responded with a 10-0 run to close out the first half and take a 10-point lead into half time.
The Cavs continued to make a game of it in the second half, keeping the game within striking distance well into the fourth quarter. This was despite Cleveland having to use lineups like Damyean Dotson, Larry Nance Jr., Thon Maker, JaVale McGee and Andre Drummond that would not be used were the the team healthy.
Drummond led the Cavs with 26 points and 24 rebounds, making him the first Cavalier since Anderson Varejao in 2012 to post a 20-point, 20-rebound game. Larry Nance Jr. added 17 points and 4 steals, while Damyean Dotson added 21 points and 8 assists as Cleveland’s nominal starting point guard.
Each Cavs starter played 30-plus minutes, with Nance playing 39 minutes and Drummond and Dotson playing 41 minutes each. Such is life when a large chunk of the roster is out with injuries.
Up next: The Cavs get Sunday off before playing at home on Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.