MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points, Eric Bledsoe had 26 and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-116 on Tuesday night.
Milwaukee ended a five-game losing streak to Cleveland. Khris Middleton had 18 points and 10 assists, and Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 points.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 20, 2017
LeBron James scored 39 points for Cleveland, which lost for just the second time in its last 20 games. James had seven assists but grabbed just one rebound in the waning seconds. Kevin Love finished with 21 points.
After a slow start, the Bucks got to the Cavaliers for 39 second-quarter points. Milwaukee cracked the 100-point barrier early in the fourth, but then stalled.
Milwaukee led 103-83 when Cleveland launched a furious comeback. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Dwyane Wade put the Cavaliers up 107-105, capping a 24-3 run and giving the visitors their first lead since the second quarter.
A 3-pointer by Brogdon put the Bucks back in front with 3:38 remaining. A traditional three-point play by James put the Cavaliers ahead 113-112 with about two minutes left.
Tony Snell responded with a 3-pointer for Milwaukee with 58.9 seconds remaining. After a Cleveland miss, Antetokounmpo grabbed a loose ball, hit a short shot and was fouled. His free throw gave the Bucks a 117-113 lead with 5.9 seconds to go.
Wade finished with 14 points for Cleveland, and Jeff Green had 13.
Milwaukee took its first lead early in the second quarter at 41-40 with Love and James on the bench. The Bucks remained hot even after the duo returned and at one point extended their advantage to 14. They led 69-58 at the half, sparked by 17 points from Middleton, who had a four-point play, as well as a 14-2 advantage in fast-break points.
Cavaliers: Wade was 5 for 10 from the field after sitting out Sunday night’s game against Washington to rest. “Something with his knee has been going on, and if he needs to take off, then we understand that,” coach Tyronn Lue said. … The Cavs scored at least 100 points for the 25th straight game.
Bucks: Jabari Parker, who is recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee, practiced with Milwaukee’s G League affiliate for the second consecutive day. Parker, who also tore his left ACL in December 2014, is not expected to be back on the court for the Bucks until February. … Matthew Dellavedova, who missed 15 consecutive games with left knee tendinitis, returned to the active roster, as did Snell (left patellar tendinitis) and Jason Terry (left calf strain). … G Sean Kilpatrick, signed to a two-way contract on Monday, dressed for the game. Kilpatrick appeared in 16 games for Brooklyn before being waived on Dec. 7.
Cavaliers: At home against Chicago on Thursday night. Cleveland won the first two games of the season series.
Bucks: Host Charlotte on Friday night.