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Mitchell Drops 36 In Cavs Statement Win Over Bucks, 114-106


CLEVELAND, OH: The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks for the teams’ third matchup of the season. Prior to the tipoff, the Bucks were first in the Eastern Conference with an NBA-best record of 22-8, with the Cavs third in the East with a record of 21-11. Both the Cavs and Bucks hold two of the league’s highest rated defenses, so this matchup was expected to be an intense defensive battle.




Prior to the game, the Cavs were 0-2 against the Bucks on the season with both games being in Milwaukee. However, with the NBA’s best home record of 15-2, the Cavs were 2-point favorites and looked to protect their home court. After building an early lead and taking control from the start, the Cavs did not relent as they topped the Bucks 114-106 for home win #15. 


Cavs Starting Five


The Cavs’ starting lineup consisted of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. Okoro drew his seventh start of the season with Lamar Stevens (knee) missing a third consecutive game. Okoro is averaging 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds as a starter this season.


First Quarter


The Cavs dominated the opening quarter, offense and defense working in perfect tandem. Their aggressiveness paid off as they forced six Bucks turnovers and held the Bucks to only 7 field goals on 39% shooting in the first quarter. On the offensive end, the Cavs were moving the ball extremely well and getting open looks both in the paint and from the perimeter. The Cavs amassed a 15-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Check out this brilliant no-look pass from Mitchell to Okoro:



Second Quarter


The Cavs kept their foot on the gas coming into the second quarter, the lead climbing to 22. The defense was forcing more turnovers and capitalizing on the other end. Kevin Love was instrumental in his rebounding and passing game, including this amazing full-court inbound pass to Cedi Osman for the layup:




Although the Cavs were rolling, fouls and little mistakes proved costly as the Bucks put together a 17-4 run and trimmed the lead down to nine. The Cavs bounced back themselves and ramped up the physicality in the closing minutes. Even Garland was aggressive in the paint as he battled for a big offensive rebound and finished with the putback. 


The Cavs forced 16 turnovers in the first half alone, compared to just four of their own. A huge triple by Mitchell in the closing seconds of the first half put the Cavs up 60-42. 




Third Quarter: Cavs makin’ a statement!


One issue that has plagued this Cavs team is their tendency to lose control in the third quarter. In their last two meetings, the Bucks had used that to their advantage and stole both games from the Cavs in the second half. Fortunately, this time it was the Cavs as they kept up their offensive rhythm and steadily maintained their lead. 


Jarrett Allen was a massive asset on both ends of the floor, consistently finding ways to score inside. Not only did he do an admirable job in his man-to-man coverage on Giannis, but he also put him on a poster off a dish from Mitchell:




Fourth Quarter – Cavs Win!

Courtesy of Ron Schwane, AP

The Bucks gained some momentum to begin the fourth quarter, opening with an 8-2 run. Giannis starting to attack the defense paired with some questionable calls against the Cavs, the Bucks chipped away at their lead and brought it all the way down to five with just minutes to go. But this gritty Cavs team doubled down, scored when it mattered most, and held on to seal the win and notch their fifth straight, 114-106. The Cavs played great team basketball from start to finish, and everyone contributed to this victory. 

Cavs win…Cavs win…THE…Cavs win!



Top Performers


Donovan Mitchell: 36 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists

Darius Garland: 23 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists

Jarrett Allen: 19 points, 8 rebounds, 8-10 FG

Kevin Love: 9 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists

The Cavs will continue their homestand as they face the Toronto Raptors on Friday, December 23rd. Tipoff is at 7:30 PM, and tickets can be purchased through SeatGeek.

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