Garland, Cavs Show Promise, But Can't Slow Rolling Bucks

Sam Amico

CLEVELAND -- Maybe at some point, all of the Cavaliers' blood and sweat will turn into something more than tears.

And if not tears, more than just another hard-fought loss.

Such was the case again Friday night, as the mighty Milwaukee Bucks began the game with a massive dunk from Giannis Antetokounmpo and left with their first 10-game winning streak in 34 years.

Final score: Bucks 119, Cavs 110 in front of an announced sellout crowd of 19,432.

The Cavs (5-14) spent the first half looking as if they had eaten too much turkey and pumpkin pie before the game, trailing by 20 at the intermission. They were particularly bad in the second quarter.

But then came the third, when the Cavs cut the deficit to eight. Then came the fourth, when they cut it to three. 

At one point, seven consecutive Cavs' buckets came off 3-pointers. 

Overall, their third quarter consisted of 10-of-15 shooting on threes and 42 points. Yes, that all happened in the span of 12 minutes.

"Nobody would have predicted it after the first half, but it turned out to be a really good basketball game," Cavs coach John Beilein said. "We hope that the people who spend their hard-earned money can see what I think this team can become in time."

Rookie guard Darius Garland scored a team-high 21 points, including 5-of-7 on threes. Garland also passed for six assists. 

In fact, it was the first time this season that you got a good look at why general manager Koby Altman snagged Garland with the No. 5 overall draft pick. And we're not even 20 games in yet.

"He's starting to get a command of the offense," Beilein said. "He looked very sure of himself, very confident on the floor."

Garland wasn't alone. There were some other fine performances. 

Cedi Osman appeared confident on his way to  20 points. After a shaky start, he is averaging close to 15 in the past five games.

Larry Nance Jr. is having his best NBA season and added 18 points and nine rebounds. He was 7-of-8 shooting. 

Also, Kevin Love and Collin Sexton had 16 points apiece. And Tristan Thompson scored 11 and hauled in a game-high 13 boards.

"We play really well when we start sharing the ball," Garland said. "Hopefully, we start doing that more."

Reigning league MVP Antetokounmpo (who else?) scored a game-high 33 points to lead the Bucks, and old friend George Hill went for 18. It was Hill's mini-eruption in the third quarter that kept the Cavs from overtaking the Bucks entirely.

For the Cavs, it was just another example that they still have the ability to keep it close against anyone, anywhere, anytime -- even a contender such as the Bucks (16-3). 

Getting over that hump and getting that win, though, still remains another matter.

Osman suggested it all boils down to experience.

"We just have to learn from this game and move on," he said. "I'm really proud of our guys for how we fought in that second half."

The Cavs bounced back from a 25-turnover game Wednesday with just 14 vs. Milwaukee. They also passed for a season-high 32 assists. 

Finally, the Cavs shot 50 percent from the floor, 50 percent on threes (17-of-34) and 50 percent from the free-throw line. Fifty-percent on the first two is very good. Fifty-percent on the last, well, not so much.

They actually finished 5-of-10 on free throws. The Bucks were 17-of-23. So the Bucks made 12 more, and won by nine.

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