LIVE: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers

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FRI, NOV 29, 2019
7:30 PM ET
Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio

A pair of Central Division teams take the floor on the shores of Lake Erie. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the road as they travel to face the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night. Milwaukee comes in off a 111-102 home win over Atlanta Wednesday night in their previous contest. Cleveland was dropped 116-104 at home by Orlando in their last game Wednesday night. The Bucks own a 122-94 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams and have won the last two meetings. That includes a 129-112 home win in the first matchup this season on October 28.

Milwaukee Bucks Seek Tenth Straight Victory

Milwaukee earned their ninth straight win as they took down the Hawks at home on Wednesday night in their last game. The Bucks enter this contest holding a 3.5-game advantage over the Pacers in the Central Division race. Milwaukee started strong, leading by 16 after the opening quarter, but needed to rally late. The Bucks saw their lead rimmed to one at the half and trailed by one after three quarters before getting back on track. Milwaukee used a 12-4 run in the final six minutes of the game to take control of the game: all told, the Bucks outscored the Hawks 30-20 to get the win. In the game, Milwaukee shot 47.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 34 from three-point range, and forced 17 Atlanta turnovers. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points and 10 boards in the victory to lead the Bucks.

The Bucks are 2nd in the league in scoring offense with 119.4 points per game on the season. Milwaukee is first in rebounding by pulling down 51.5 boards per contest while the team is 14th by dishing out 24.5 assists per game. The Bucks are 15th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 110.2 points per contest this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee with 31.1 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists per contest this season. Khris Middleton chips in 18.3 points plus 5.5 rebounds a night while Brook Lopez contributes 10.8 points a contest. George Hill (9.2 points) and Eric Bledsoe (16.8 points, 5.5 assists) are solid secondary options. Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, Ersan Ilyasova and Pat Connaughton are solid pieces in the mix as well. Milwaukee is fourth in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 47.3 percent as a team this season. The Bucks are fifth in threes per game by draining 13.8 triples per contest and stand 24th in three-point shooting by hitting 33.9 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Middleton made his return to the lineup against the Hawks on November 27 after missing two and a half weeks with a quad injury.

Cleveland Cavaliers Look to Bounce Back

Cleveland became the first team to lose at home against the visiting Magic this season as they fell Wednesday night. The Cavaliers suffered their eighth loss in nine games and come into the game in the basement of the Central Division, 10 games behind the Bucks. Cleveland was even after one quarter and trailed by seven at the half: they got no closer than four in the second half before giving up a 13-0 run that ultimately sealed their fate. The Cavaliers shot 45.7 percent from the field, including 11 of 34 from three-point range, but turned the ball over 25 times. That more than negated Cleveland’s 49-34 edge on the glass: Collin Sexton had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the loss to lead the team.

The Cavaliers are 28th in the league in scoring this season with 104.4 points per game. Cleveland is 20th in rebounding with 44.3 caroms a night while the team stands 30th with 19.9 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are below average defensively, ranking 18th in scoring defense by allowing 111.7 points per game. Kevin Love is second on the team with 17.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest this year. Collin Sexton (team-high 17.9 points), Tristan Thompson (14.3 points, 10.2 rebounds) and Jordan Clarkson (14.5 points) are scoring in double figures on the year. Larry Nance Jr. (10.6 points, 7.6 rebounds), Cedi Osman, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. are key pieces of the rotation for the Cavaliers. Cleveland is 27th in the league by shooting 43.3 percent from the field. The Cavaliers are 22nd in the league in made threes with 10.7 triples a night while ranking tied for 25th in three-point shooting by shooting 33.4 percent from downtown.

There’s not a whole lot to say here that would be positive for the Cavaliers. Cleveland is the third-worst scoring offense in the league, ahead of only the Knicks and Magic this season. The Bucks are second in that department and have the reigning MVP leading their rotation. Milwaukee got Middleton back Wednesday after he missed two and a half weeks with a quad injury, which only makes the team that much deeper. The Cavaliers just lost by double digits at home to an Orlando team that was 0-7 on the road. Milwaukee has won nine straight: you do the math. This should be an easy romp for Milwaukee.

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks -10.5

Milwaukee has rolled to an 8-2 mark on the road this season and their offense has hummed along, putting up 118.1 points per game. The Bucks are better defensively on the road (108.1 ppg) than they are at the Fiserv Forum (112.8 ppg) this season. Cleveland’s offense is better at home (107.8 ppg) than on the road (101.1 ppg) but the Cavaliers have had struggles defensively. On the year, the Cavaliers’ defense has been worse as the home team (112.2 ppg) than on the road (111.1 ppg) so far. Will Cleveland find a way to slow down Milwaukee’s high-octane attack?

The under is 4-1 in the Bucks’ last 5 vs. Eastern Conference teams and 7-2 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400. Cleveland has seen the under go 4-1 in their last five at home and 7-2 in their last 9 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. It’s hard to see Cleveland doing enough to push this one over, even if the Bucks put up 120. Look for the total to be a couple points too high here.

Prediction: Under 228.5

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