Tyler Zeller had an errant pass intercepted by the Milwaukee Bucks with less than one minute to go in the game with the Cavaliers down by four points and looking to further cut into the Milwaukee lead. The Cavaliers weren’t able to muster up any late-game scores to put them into a position for a game winning shot, as their team combined for 27 turnovers. The Bucks were able to convert those mistakes into 23 points, and finished the fourth quarter by keeping the Cavs at bay. The Cleveland Cavaliers (5-19) are now 0-7 against the weak Central Division after falling to the Milwaukee Bucks (12-9) for the second time this season, 90-86.
The Wine and Gold are a frustrating bunch to watch, and it started tonight with the turnover problems. The starters, who didn’t live up to their offensive potential tonight, combined for 16 of the turnovers. The team started the game with six follies in the first quarter, as point guard Kyrie Irving accounted for two of the turnovers. Irving finished with a team-high six turnovers, capping off a rough night for the sophomore. No matter who is running the one, six cough ups is inexcusable. What is more inexcusable is starting point guard for the Bucks, Monta Ellis, going off for 33 points against one of the weaker defenses in the league. He shot 50 percent from the field and made 8-of-11 free throw attempts, which was another problem with the Cavaliers.
Cleveland needs to work more on getting to the line, and that’s evident through all the close matches that the Cavs. Each successive attempt at the free throw line increases your chances of winning, and the Cavaliers only getting to the line 14 times compared to the Bucks’ 27 further proves that. Cleveland only missed one free throw attempt, which was a Tristan Thompson miss in the late third quarter. With Kyrie going 6-of-6 from the charity stripe, that means bigs like Thompson and Tyler Zeller need to be more physical in the paint and draw more fouls. They are the least physical big guys that I have watched play basketball in a while. Games can be won or lost from the line, and the Cavaliers need to start using what little size they have to their advantage.
However, when you are only getting consistent offensive production from two of your players, it’s not going to be pretty. Irving attributed 26 points while the on-fire C.J. Miles provided 17 points in his third consecutive start. Anderson Varejao, who was more of a scoring threat when Kyrie was sitting out, only added eight points to the effort. Varejao, though, did manage to bring down 18 boards and helped the Cavs outrebound Milwaukee, 46-43.
The turnovers weren’t as costly as they should have been in this game, but it could have been a lot worse. The mistakes were too easy for the Bucks, as the ball seemed to be slipping off of Cavalier hands all night. Going into the night Cleveland was ranked 17th in Turnover Ratio with a mark of 14.2.
The Cavaliers will try and redeem themselves on the road against the superior New York Knicks. Tipoff at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday.