Cleveland Oh. – The Cavs gave the Bucks an old-fashioned butt whooping. That’s the best way to describe the 135-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. In a game that featured no lead changes and no ties, the Cavs were absolutely dominate in the game. George Niang scored a career high 33 points and didn’t miss his first shot until the fourth quarter. And that was the only thing he missed all night.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) January 18, 2024
You may look at the game and say “Well, Giannis didn’t play.” And while you would be correct, the Bucks were missing their guy in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the rest of the guys including Damien Liilard played. They just didn’t play well. Isaac Okoro was primarily matched up against Lillard, while Dean Wade was on Khris Middleton. The Bucks duo combined to go 8-30 for 19 points. That was elite defense from the Cavs wings. While they were locking up the perimeter, Jarrett Allen secured his 10 consecutive double-double finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
But the stars of the night were Niang, and Donovan Mitchell. Niang was a surprise, but Mitchell has been consistently doing this since the Cavs were hit with the injury bug. Mitchell scored 31 points on 12-19 shooting and had 7 assist. He has been the catalyst for this team staying not just afloat but being one of the hottest teams in the league. The Cavs now on a 6-game winning streak, are now in fourth place in the conference and 2 wins behind third. They are making up ground.
Asked if he saw this kind of resilience from his team when the injuries happened, Coach JB Bickerstaff said “I think this is what this team is capable of. To a man, you see guys continue to just step up. And the way their playing, this is a together team.” That togetherness is something George Niang spoke about as well. “When you have guys who care about each other and genuinely have each other’s back, good things tend to happen.” The good things are happening for the Cavs. Winners of their last six games, and 13-3 over the last 16 (since Darius Garland and Evan Mobley have been out), this team is hitting their stride at the right time. This is how the Cavs want to continue to play. Up-tempo, and locking down on defense. If they can get healthy and continue playing like this…….
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