The 22-8 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 21-11 Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday Night in Cleveland, Ohio at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. This is the third time these teams have played with the Bucks winning game one 113-83 and game two 117-102. This is the second game of a five game road trip with the Bucks playing in Brooklyn Friday Night and at 5pm on Christmas Day against the Celtics.
It is #1 vs #2. It is Giannis vs Donovan, Great Lakes Brewery vs Lakefront, Summerfest vs the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame….
Keys for the Bucks
Continue to establish the interior
When Milwaukee rebounds, Milwaukee wins! In game two the Bucks only outrebounded the Cavs by a couple of boards, but in game one, the difference was pretty pronounced (34 team boards by Cleveland vs 52 for the Bucks). Finding ways to limit their second chance attempts is big. The Bucks right now are getting some strong interior play from Brook Lopez and Bobby Ports. Lopez has been in quite a few defensive player of the year conversations. The Cavs also have two really good interior players in Jarret Allen (he didn’t play in game 1) and Evan Mobley.
What the Cavs have in youth, the Bucks have in experience. It’ll be a key for the Bucks to rebound the ball and keep the Cavs off the glass. Portis and Lopez need to play “big”.
Score over 112 total team points
When you have played twice you start to see some trends in the data.
It sounds simple enough: score more points than they do and you’ll win. But it is hard to beat an NBA team four times, let alone a team as good and as strong as Cleveland. The Cavs, as a team, average 110 points per game. It’s no wonder why getting to 112 makes life easier for Milwaukee.
Jrue and Giannis have played some better games of late after they got trounced by Memphis. For both of those guys, keep shooting! Shoot yourself hot!
The Opponent- The Cavaliers
Hey, for Cleveland they have been impressive so far. They are on a four game winning streak. The Cavs are young and streaky but have gone 15-2 at home.
What the Bucks have in experience, the Cavs have in youthful exuberance. Not since Lebron James has their been this much excitement in Cleveland. This time around the Cavs have seemed to hit all of the right notes through the draft and have added some good young players.
Jarret Allen and Evan Mobley are good interior defenders. Taken 3rd overall in the 2021 draft, Mobley is averaging around 15 points a game and 8 rebounds. He can play.
Donovan Mitchell has been a star. Mitchell is averaging 29 points per game. He is also averaging around 36 minutes a game and is shooting over 50% from the field.
Darrius Garland has really turned it up. He is leading the team with 8 assists per game. He is lightning quick and will look to push the tempo.
Things to tell your buddies while you’re watching the game
- Brook Lopez leads the NBA in blocks per game (2.7).
- Milwaukee leads the all-time series 130-97.
- Milwaukee to Cleveland is only a 435 mile drive. According to my MAPS app, it’s only a 7 ½ hour trip. (In case you want to go to game 4 on January 21st.
- Cleveland, as a team, are the worst in the NBA at stealing the ball (6 steals a game). So toast your buddy over your Great Lakes Beer or your Lakefront Beer every time Cleveland gets a steal. It should be just about the right amount and for Bucks fans, hopefully, not many.
Follow me on Twitter at @authorrudylb and check out my other writings at www.rudylb.com. Follow us at @WiSportsHeroics! For all things Wisconsin sports, click here! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!