The Milwaukee Bucks will aim to extend one three-game streak and snap another on Wednesday when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Milwaukee completed a successful three-game homestand on Saturday with a 133-127 victory over the Sacramento Kings. The Bucks now turn their attention to their roadwoes, as the team has dropped three in a row away from Milwaukee.
Khris Middleton matched a season high with 34 points and Jrue Holiday chipped in 26 on Saturday for the Bucks, who continued their winning ways despite playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time NBA MVP sat out that contest due to right knee soreness, one day after scoring 30 points in Milwaukee's 94-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"I mean, it's why we feel like we're one of the teams in the league that's got a chance," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "You got multiple guys that can make clutch plays, clutch baskets and tough baskets and Khris has just done it so much. That's what you need to win in this league."
While Antetokounmpo's availability for Wednesday's game is in question, Milwaukee definitely will be without Wesley Matthews and Grayson Allen. Matthews sustained a left knee contusion in the third quarter of Saturday's game, while Allen received a one-game suspension by the NBA for his flagrant 2 foul against Alex Caruso of the Bulls on Friday.
The Bucks posted a 112-104 win over Cleveland on Dec. 6 before fielding a short-handed lineup in a 119-90 setback to the Cavaliers 12 days later. Milwaukee played the latter contest without Antetokounmpo, Matthews, Donte DiVincenzo and Bobby Portis due to the NBA's health and safety protocol, as well as Middleton to a hyperextended left knee. Also, Jrue Holiday and Allen were rested.
Cleveland recorded its second straight win and seventh in eight outings with a 95-93 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday. The surge has sent the Cavaliers to 10 games over .500 for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
"Winning changes a lot. And learning from some mistakes. I've even talked about in the past week or two, just learning from mistakes," said 33-year-old Kevin Love, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds off the bench on Monday. "I think I'm still young enough that I can change, even though these guys call me The Old Man and Uncle Kevin. I definitely think it's just a beautiful thing to see the fans get excited for all of us."
Darius Garland collected 13 points and 12 assists and rookie Evan Mobley added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were picking up the slack in place of Lauri Markkanen (ankle) and Jarrett Allen (illness). Dean Wade made the most of his first start since Dec. 28 by recording 13 points, five rebounds and team-high three steals.
"Just my role. I know when our starting five is healthy we are a very, very good team. There's only five people on the court at a time and I know how that goes, so mentally I'm always prepared and you never know when something could happen," Wade said.
While Markkanen is sidelined indefinitely, it's not immediately known if Jarrett Allen will be available for Wednesday's game.
--Field Level Media