Game Thread | 2021-2022 Season | Game #25 | Cavs @ Bucks | Dec. 6, 2022 | 8:00 p.m.

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Wham with the Right Hand

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The Cavs travel to Milwaukee for the second game of a back-to-back after losing to the 15-7 Jazz by a point. The Bucks are 15-9 and are defending NBA Champions. They’re 8-4 at home. This game looks like a schedule loss, especially since the Bucks were off yesterday.

It doesn’t really matter if the Cavs lose; they’re not going to be battling Milwaukee for home court advantage in the playoffs. The Bucks should be contending with Brooklyn (16-7) and Chicago (16-8) for one of the top three spots.

The Bucks started the season 6-8 but have since won 9 of 10. However, those nine wins were against teams ranked 10, 11, 17, 20, 24, 28, 28, 29, and 30 by CBSsports. The 10th ranked team, Miami, was playing without Butler and Adebayo. The Bucks beat the 11th ranked team, Charlotte, by 2 points at home. So I’m not that impressed with their 9 wins in 10 games. It was a massive soft spot in the schedule.

The key to this game will be whether Giannis plays. He missed the last two games and is currently listed as questionable with a calf injury. Starting shooting guard Grayson Allen and backup point guard George Hill are also questionable. This game could come down to who is available for the Bucks.

Giannis has a line of 27.6/11.8/6.0 on 53.2% from the field. He may be the best player in the NBA. His only weakness is he’s shooting 27.6% on 3’s.

If Giannis, Allen, and Hill are all out the Bucks will have to find 49 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists from their bench. Those three combine for 89 minutes a game, which would pretty much wipe out their bench in addition to making their starting unit much weaker.

Khris Middleton is averaging 17.8 ppg on 41.8%. Jrue Holiday is averaging 15.3 ppg and Allen is getting 13.8 points on 45.6% and 42.6%. He’s their best 3-point shooter so if he’s out it would be significant. Center Bobby Portis is averaging 15.3 ppg and is hitting 41.7% of his 3’s.

The Bucks are very similar to the Jazz in that they are heavily reliant on 3-point shooting. They’re 7th in points per game but 28th in points in the paint. They score mainly from outside, ranking 3rd in percentage of points on 3’s and 28th on percentage from 2’s. Only three teams shoot more 3’s per game than Milwaukee. They rank 8th in 3-point percentage.

Last night the Cavs gave up 20 three-pointers and lost by a point. They need to defend the 3 better tonight against a team with the same approach.

Defensively the Bucks are average, ranking 14th in points per game. They don’t get many blocks or steals but rank 6th in points in the paint allowed per game and 5th in 3-point shooting percentage.

This looks like a similar opponent to last night in that the Bucks shoot a ton of 3’s, make a high percentage of them, and get more of their points from 3’s than all but two teams (Utah is one of them).

Giannis is averaging 10.2 free throw attempts per game and the Cavs commit the fewest fouls per game in the league, so it will be interesting to see how often he gets to the line (if he plays).

My feeling is that when Giannis bulls his way into the paint the Cavs should just let Allen or Mobley contest his shot rather than converging on him and leaving open shooters at the 3-point line. If he makes the shot or draws the foul - fine. He’s a 67% free throw shooter. Just don’t collapse the defense and give up easy 3’s to a team that is 8th in 3-point percentage. I don’t care if Giannis gets 30 in the paint as long we we shut down their 3-point shooters.

Jrue Holiday is a first team All-NBA defender, so it will be a great matchup between him and Darius Garland, who is coming off back-to-back 30-point games.

Bobby Portis, their 6’10” center, is playing really well and hitting 41.7% from deep so either Mobley, Allen, or Markkanen needs to stay close to him when he drifts out to the perimeter.

Pat Connaughton, a 6’5” wing, has an effective shooting percentage of 64.1% which leads the team and is in the 96th percentile for his position. He’s hitting 42% from deep, 62% from midrange, and 71% at the rim. He only takes 9 shots a game (in 29 minutes), but he can’t be left open.

If Giannis plays it doesn’t look good for the Cavs, although they have the height to contest his shots in the paint and make him earn his points. If he doesn’t play I’d say the Cavs’ chances are very good, especially if Grayson and/or Hill are also out. The Bucks are 1-2 with Giannis out. That win was against Miami with Butler and Adebayo out.
 

Cassity14

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I continue to look at match ups this year in the NBA since teams' overall talent is much closer on average than a normal year. With Brook Lopez out, I think this is a good one for the Cavs after a rough one yesterday. Their size should bother Milwaukee on both ends. If Giannis is out, this becomes even more true.

Middleton is always a threat to catch fire and completely take over a game in spurts, but he rarely is a great offensive player from start to finish. Reminds me of Mo Williams in that regard.

If Giannis plays, I'm curious to see how he fares against the shot blocking the Cavs have inside. He's too great not to be impactful, but perhaps he can be mitigated to an extent.

I think we're all anxiously watching Garland. Will his outburst continue? He's up to nearly 20 points per game on the season to go with his 7 assists, and has clearly looked like an all-star in the last week. I've said all season that he is the X factor in terms of the Cavs' ceiling going forward. How will he handle one of the better defensive point guards in the NBA tonight in Holiday?
 

Wham with the Right Hand

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De
I continue to look at match ups this year in the NBA since teams' overall talent is much closer on average than a normal year. With Brook Lopez out, I think this is a good one for the Cavs after a rough one yesterday. Their size should bother Milwaukee on both ends. If Giannis is out, this becomes even more true.

Middleton is always a threat to catch fire and completely take over a game in spurts, but he rarely is a great offensive player from start to finish. Reminds me of Mo Williams in that regard.

If Giannis plays, I'm curious to see how he fares against the shot blocking the Cavs have inside. He's too great not to be impactful, but perhaps he can be mitigated to an extent.

I think we're all anxiously watching Garland. Will his outburst continue? He's up to nearly 20 points per game on the season to go with his 7 assists, and has clearly looked like an all-star in the last week. I've said all season that he is the X factor in terms of the Cavs' ceiling going forward. How will he handle one of the better defensive point guards in the NBA tonight in Holiday?
DeMarcus Cousins has played 11 and 15 minutes the last two games so he will probably spell Portis at center.
 

KilgoreTrout

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Didn’t realize this game was in Milwaukee. Hoo-boy. <7hours until game-time, maybe 9 hours until redemption. I’ll be unsettled all afternoon!
 

Alec

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Back to back and we catch the defending champs.

As long as this one isn’t over by the end of the third quarter, I’ll be happy.
 

Peacedog

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Back to back and we catch the defending champs.

As long as this one isn’t over by the end of the third quarter, I’ll be happy.
The Cavs have been in every game well into the 4th quarter. You expect this to change tonight?
 

sailfish

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Four(4) things in the Cavs' favor tonight:

1) Giannis may not play.
2) The Cavs have played outstanding on the road.
3) They have played well after losses and have bounced back strongly the following game.
4) Back to back games haven't fazed them thus far.

I'm not guaranteeing a win, but I am guaranteeing another hard-fought game from the Cavs and they will be right in it until the final buzzer.
 

Randolphkeys

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Cavs - Bucks aren't on NBATV, but they have a much better matchup: Pistons - Thunder.

I can see this as one of the nights they zap from game to game. Nobody wants to see the Pisst-ons and Thunder try to out-tank each other.
 

sailfish

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Damm everyone out now and days
Seriously. Hornets have 4 guys out. Cavs are looking pretty darn healthy in comparison and we have an opportunity to make some serious headway in the East.
 

Jscc

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Garland vs. Holiday

Lauri vs. Middleton

Mobley vs. Giannis

Allen vs. Portis (40% from 3 stretch big)

Are going to be great learning experiences. Garland is going through a really rough stretch. Conley, Holiday, and Ball are all top tier defenders at point guard.
 

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