Bucks hold off Cavs, 111-107
Not only was it the Bucks’ first victory in Cleveland in the LeBron James era after eight previous defeats, but the Bucks also snapped a seven-game overall losing streak to Cleveland.
It was also the first road victory of the season for the Bucks, who had lost their first four away from home.
The Bucks overcame a sluggish start, got contributions from many and managed the clock well down the stretch to earn a solid, all-around victory. The Bucks, who fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter, improved to 2-0 in the Central Division after going 1-15 in the division last season.
“Not to beat a dead horse from last year,” coach Larry Krystkowiak said, “but we were 1-15 in the Central Division and we got beat up four times playing against the Cavs. It’s not just Cleveland, it’s a number of teams in the division that we’d kind of like to correct the situation a little bit.
“I thought we came out flat in the first quarter. They kind of took it at us. I think we got tired of getting hit in the mouth and we fought back and some energy carried it through. On the road, when you’re playing against the Eastern Conference champs from last year, you can’t come in and have a lack of energy. We started to get a positive vibe out there and things started going better.”
Guard Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 34 points, scoring 18 points in the third quarter when the Bucks turned a four-point halftime deficit into a four-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Redd got to the foul line 20 times and made 15. He also pitched in seven rebounds and six assists. A four-point play by Redd tied the score, 63-63, and his three-pointer gave Milwaukee its first lead of the game, 66-65, with 7 minutes 1 second left in the third quarter.
“We knew this was a pretty important game,” Redd said. “We had been playing well at home but it was tough for us to translate what we had been doing at home and what we had been doing in practice on the road. Tonight, we did a terrific job of just playing the whole game. We started pretty bad but we re-grouped. Anytime you can beat Cleveland at their home speaks volumes.”
Said Cleveland’s LeBron James, “This summer (Redd) made five or six straight threes one time in the USA games. We know what he is capable of and he showcased his talent and led his team to victory tonight.”
Charlie Villanueva (17 points, nine rebounds) and Royal Ivey (15 points) provided a huge energy boost off the bench and helped the Bucks get back in the game after their slow start. Ivey scored 11 of his points in the second quarter and Villanueva banked in a three-pointer with 3:15 left that gave Milwaukee a 102-93 lead that proved too much for the Cavaliers to overcome.
Mo Williams scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and dished out nine assists. Consecutive layups by Williams helped the Bucks extend their lead to seven early in the fourth quarter.
James led the Cavaliers with 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“We didn’t defend and we gave them an opportunity to get back into the game,” he said. “They have a lot of guys than can score the basketball. That is what they do best. If you don’t get stops, you are definitely not going to win against a team like that.”