Donovan Mitchell led the Cavs with 32 points to go with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. He also appeared to suffer an injury late in the game, but finished it out before limping off at the end of the game.
Jarrett Allen had 24 points and 14 rebounds to extend his double-double streak. Max Strus (11 points), Georges Niang (10 points) and Caris LeVert (12 points) also finished in double figures for the Cavs.
Well, that happened…
Cleveland’s defense was elite on Friday. At all three levels, it was dialed in and making the Bucks work for each of their 100 points. Every Cavs player — from Donovan Mitchell to Jarrett Allen and everyone in between — was locked in and engaged, playing exactly where they needed to be at all times.
Per Cleaning The Glass, the Bucks finished with an offensive rating of 98 — putting them in the bottom 10% of all team performances this year. They didn’t shoot above average at any spot on the floor aside from corner threes. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only Bucks starter to shoot above 50%.
One player who deserves specific attention for his effort is Isaac Okoro. Okoro spent most of the night glued to Bucks star guard Damian Lillard, not giving him any room to breathe or get off clean looks. Lillard finished 7-24 from the field and 2-10 from three.
This block was the play of the night on defense:
Pretty good way for Okoro to celebrate his 23rd birthday.
On an offensive note, this LeVert shot was audacious and capped off Cleveland’s win:
The Cavs have now won nine of their last 10. They finish the year 2-2 against the Bucks, who despite firing their head coach and hiring Doc Rivers, are among the league’s top teams have Giannis on their team. For the Cavs to maintain a .500 record against the Bucks is an accomplishment. And now the Cavs are just 2.5 games out of the third seed in the East. Making a real push into the top three of the East is firmly on the table.
Up next: The Cavs host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday in what will be another test against an elite team. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.