Final: Cleveland Cavaliers 135, Giannis-less Milwaukee Bucks 95.
Georges Niang had a career-high 33 points on 13-14 shooting, including a 5-6 mark from three. It Donovan Mitchel was the main engine of the Cavs early, Niang was the one who took the Cavs home and helped Cleveland put the game way.
Niang was cooking all over the floor:
This kind of outburst is why you sign someone like Niang.
Well, that happened…
The Cavs were dominant in the first half. They got out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter that was whittled down to single digits — only to build it all the way back up by the half.
This game was never really competitive. Mitchell had 14 of his 31 in the first quarter. Isaac Okoro had Damian Lillard in hell defending at the point of attack. Jarrett Allen was one rebound shy of a first half double-double. Cleveland had double the points in the paint and only trailed for a whopping 13 seconds in the first half.
This was dominant, pure and simple.
Six straight wins for the Cavs and a win against one of the best teams in the conference (even if Giannis was out) is a big deal. Every single win while Darius Garland and Evan Mobley are out is a positive. And every win that further helps the Cavs strengthen their positioning for a top-six seed in the East is a positive.
So was this the most exciting game the Cavs could have had against a great team? No. But a win is a win.
Up next: The Cavs start a road trip this road trip this weekend with a game against the Atlanta Hawks. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. in Atlanta.