Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 126-116 win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night in their first game after dismissing head coach Adrian Griffin.
Antetokounmpo finished with his seventh triple-double of the season, racking up 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Damian Lillard added 28 points while Khris Middleton scored 24.
Cleveland, which had won eight in a row, was led by Donovan Mitchell, who scored 23 points but shot 10-of-24. Jarrett Allen added 21 and 12 rebounds.
It was a tight game throughout the first half, with Milwaukee going into the second quarter up just 32-28. The Bucks held a 61-51 lead at halftime.
Antetokounmpo had 15 points and seven rebounds at intermission. Sam Merrill led Cleveland with nine points, making three consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter.
Milwaukee pulled away in the third quarter. An 8-2 run gave Milwaukee a 77-62 lead with 6:52 left in the third and they eventually led by as many as 21 points.
The Cavs went on a late third-quarter run to cut the deficit to 87-77 with 1:27 left but Lillard knocked down a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bucks a 93-79 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But Cleveland didn’t go away easily. The Cavaliers cut the deficit to 108-100 after Mitchell, who scored 16 points in the second half, hit a free throw with 5:41 left.
But the Bucks responded as Antetokounmpo found Malik Beasley for a 3-pointer to put Milwaukee up 126-111 with 1:23 left.
Milwaukee improved to 2-1 this season against Cleveland and got a bit of revenge after the Bucks lost 135-95 to the Cavs last week. Milwaukee can win the season series when the teams face off again on Friday in Milwaukee.
–Field Level Media
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