MILWAUKEE — Eric Bledsoe had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks shot 52 percent from 3-point range in the first half of a 108-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Sterling Brown had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Bucks, who rested Giannis Antetokounmpo on the second night of back-to-back games. He was ruled out about an hour before the game with neck soreness.
Leading by 18 points at the half and by as much as 26 in the third quarter, the Bucks hardly needed their All-Star forward against one of the NBA’s worst teams.
Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson had 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added six rebounds, but left in the third quarter with a left foot injury. Jaron Blossomgame had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Larry Nance Jr. scored a team-high 16 points.
The Cavaliers did manage to cut the deficit in half, to 13, with 5:40 left and the Bucks playing mostly backups. It was close enough that coach Mike Budenholzer put most of his starters back in the game until the closing minutes.
Otherwise, the game was decided in the first half, when the Bucks — one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the league — hit 11 of 21 from beyond the arc. Bledsoe was 4 of 5 from 3-point territory, with all his attempts before halftime.
Brown came off the bench to provide a spark in the first half, hustling all over the court to grab boards and defend. His transition dunk after a turnover with 2:08 left in the second quarter gave Milwaukee a 57-36 lead.
It didn’t matter much when the 6-foot-10 Thompson was in the game, anyway. The Cavs were outscored 50-40 in the paint and outrebounded 58-46, even with the high-flying Antetokounmpo missing the game for Milwaukee.
The Bucks finished 15 of 36 (42 percent) from 3-point range for the night.
Cavaliers: G Matthew Dellavedova scored 11 points in 16 minutes in making his debut in second stint with Cleveland. A fan favorite in Cleveland, Dellavedova was acquired from the Bucks on Friday in a three-team deal that sent George Hill to Milwaukee. He played sporadic minutes this season for the Bucks.
Bucks: Hill scored two points in 13 minutes in making his Bucks debut, often matched up defensively against Dellavedova. C Jason Smith, who was acquired from the Wizards in the same deal, went scoreless in four minutes in his first game with Milwaukee. … G Pat Connaughton was inactive.
Cavaliers: Host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Bucks: Visit Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.