The Milwaukee Bucks lost the first game of their mini homestand to the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-90, but Bucks fans shouldn’t even consider hitting the panic button.
Despite losing by their largest deficit since the 137-95 loss against the Miami Heat on Oct. 21, there were plenty of promising signs Saturday night.
Jordan Nwora is making strides in his sophomore year
With the top five scorers all out for various reasons against the Cavs, Jordan Nwora stepped up big time.
Nwora put up a season-high 28 points while shooting 11-for-21 from the field and 4-for-8 on three-pointers.
Nwora, the second-year talent out of Louisville, has played 42 minutes in each of the Bucks two games.
The small forward’s 18 minutes per game is double what he played in his rookie season, and his consecutive double-doubles show that he’s able to get it done all over the floor.
George Hill is still efficient at 35 years old
In his 14th year in the NBA, George Hill showed on Saturday night that he can still run the floor while shooting efficiently.
Hill put up 14 points on a 7-for-11 shooting effort with three rebounds and a team-high four assists.
While the game against the Cavs ended in a blowout, Hill did most of his damage when the deficit was within 15 points in the first half.
The Bucks shut the 35-year-old down after 22 minutes, but he showed he can provide and facilitate for this team.
Younger Bucks got experience against a playoff-caliber team
Two Bucks rookies, Sandro Mamukelashvili and Javonte Smart, saw significant action against the current No. 3 seed Cavs Saturday night.
Mamukelashvili was putting up 20.3 ppg for the Wisconsin Herd before he got the call.
In just his second career start, the power forward from Seton Hall put up 17 points while shooting 4-for-9 from beyond the arc.
Smart didn’t have as efficient of a night, but the rookie from LSU still saw 44 minutes of action.
Only scoring four points on a 2-for-14 shooting effort, Smart couldn’t seem to get it going.
However, the rookie from LSU saw a heavy dose of playing time against a Cavs team that is three wins from matching their 2020-21 win total.
At the very least, Smart had a learning experience against a likely playoff team.
The Bucks will get three days off before finishing off their mini homestand against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 22.
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