Game 72: Cavs at Bucks
BMO Harris Bradley Center
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
1. The Cavaliers flipped that switch late in the third quarter and blew the Bucks off their home floor. Up until that point, they were in serious danger of losing this game. They trailed by seven points, 69-62, with 3:27 left in the third. They closed the third quarter on a 13-4 run. Guard Iman Shumpert scored on a layup at the buzzer for a 75-73 lead. The Cavaliers never trailed again. They outscored the Bucks in the fourth quarter, 33-17.
2. Their defense during their run was suffocating. Still, the Bucks shot 54 percent from the field in the game. That's normally not a recipe for success.
3. LeBron James sparked the late rally. He had a game-high 28 points. He had 13 in the fourth quarter, 21 in the second half. James also had 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals.
4. Sidekick J.R. Smith was equally as impressive, but in a different way. His long-range shooting stopped the Bucks in their tracks. He made 7 of 9 3-pointers, 3 of 3 in the fourth quarter. In his last seven games, he's shooting 53.8 percent from the 3-point line (28 of 52). If he continues that kind of torrid shooting, the Cavaliers will be celebrating their first NBA championship in June.
5. Every time I see Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, he gets better. He's so long. Now, he's making shots from the perimeter. He's already one of the top defenders in the league. If he continues to improve, he's going to be a major star. He ended with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
6. Bucks coach Jason Kidd is not going to be Coach of the Year. However, he should get some votes for the prestigious award. He's turned the Bucks from an afterthought to a playoff team in one year.
7. The sixth-seeded Bucks had several players sidelined via injury, including Jared Dudley (back), O.J. Mayo (hamstring) and, of course, Jabari Parker (knee). They are going to be solid playoff team next year. If they keep dropping - they've lost six in a row - they could tumble to the No. 7 seed in the East. Miami is just 1 1 /2 games behind the Bucks. That would pit Milwaukee vs. Cleveland in the first round.
8. The Cavs have now won three in a row, as well as 27 of their last 33 games.
UP NEXT: at Memphis, FedExForum, 8 p.m. Wednesday.
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo (6-11, 217)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Zaza Pachulia (6-11, 270)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Khris Middleton (6-7, 225)
Bucks - F Jabari Parker, F Damien Inglis
Mike Callahan, David Jones, Steven Anderson