It was an ugly one from start to finish for the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Tuesday night. The Cleveland Cavaliers clearly looked like the number one seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs, by beating the Bucks 109-80.
Cleveland came out firing from three-point range, with J.R. Smith doing most of the damage. Smith made 6 of 8 three’s in the first quarter to give the Cavaliers a double digit lead. The Bucks never made a run to get back into the game, and were down by 24 points at halftime with the score being 67-43. Cleveland shot 12 of 18 from three-point range as a team in the first half.
“They started off well shooting the ball from behind the arc. That’s something that we talked about as a team, that they shoot a lot of threes, and J.R. is one of their weapons. Out of their first 20 points, they had one dunk by LeBron and the rest were threes,” said Bucks head coach Jason Kidd.
Smith finished the game with a team-high 21 points, and broke the Cavaliers franchise record for most made three-point field goals in a single season.
“That was on everyone’s mind coming into the game. LeBron said he was going to come out and give it to him in the first quarter. Everyone was happy for him and he shot the ball great tonight,” said Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue on Smith’s record.
For the Bucks, one of the few bright spots once again was Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo nearly notched another triple double with 22 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists.
LeBron James commented on Antetokounmpo by saying, “He’s a heck of a player, and he’s only going to get better. He has a great coach. A guy who played the point guard position at a high level for so many years, so he’s a great person to learn from. We’ll see what happens.”
Rashad Vaughn started for the Bucks and saw unusual playing time with a career-high 45 minutes played. Vaughn tied a career-high in points with 10, and steals with three. Johnny O’Bryant had a career-high-tying 12 points to go along with seven rebounds.
LeBron James and Kevin Love each contributed with 17 points for the Cavaliers, in which the bench played nearly the entire fourth quarter in the blow out.
With the win, Cleveland has won the season series against Milwaukee, 3-1, and has won five of its last six games against the Bucks.
The Bucks now take off on their final road trip of the season. Milwaukee will visit Boston, Philadelphia, and Orlando before returning home for its final contest of the season against the Indiana Pacers (4/13).