The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time this season at Bradley Center 115-105 Wednesday night.ab
Even without recently traded Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, the Bucks managed to control the Cavaliers late and outscored Cleveland by 15 points in the final 36 minutes of play. The Cavs led by five for the prior 12 minutes.
Production inside of the paint proved to be what put the Bucks (19-24) over the top tonight as they outscored the Cavaliers (16-25) 58-44 down low. The Cavaliers “big men” scored a combined 18 points and 8 rebounds on the night, nowhere close to where Ryan Hollins, Samardo Samuels and Tristan Thompson should be producing.
But as the Bucks made their move to get Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown and New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni resigned, the Bucks and Knicks, in very different ways, made statements moves that solidify them as playoff contenders. The Cavaliers have until Thursday at 3 p.m. to make their bid toward a big man if they want to compete for that final playoff push.
In a game where veteran guard Anthony Parker went 1-3 from the field and scored three points and Ramon Sessions shot an awful 0-8 and scored just two points against his former team, I think the Cavs could find themselves shopping away them in the coming hours. Sessions, who I believe is the second best guard on the Cavs, is rarely inconsistent, but struggled tonight against a Bucks defense that let the Cavaliers score over 100 points. I would prefer Cleveland to keep Sessions, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they packaged Sessions and/or Parker with one to two more players and traded for a true center.
It’s frustrating watching the Cavs try to win without a dominant force in the middle, but they have done it numerous times this season. You can definitely tell by games like Wednesday nights that Cleveland is missing the physical play of Anderson Varejao. It’s something that you just can’t cover up with better forward or guard play. Down the road the Cavaliers are going to need someone that they can call their center, and that’s not going to happen until they make a move either through the draft or within the next day.
The Cavs will take a three-day break from NBA play until the Atlanta Hawks come to Cleveland Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. Maybe we will see someone new in a Cavaliers uniform.