Monday, March 4, 2024
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NBA Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers (26-15) at Milwaukee Bucks (30-13)

Adrian Griffin will not be on the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Milwaukee dismissed Griffin on Tuesday and named assistant coach Joe Prunty the interim head coach.

This comes after the Bucks played their second consecutive game in Detroit against the Pistons on Monday, winning 122-113 to improve to 30-13 on the season.

Against last-place Detroit, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with his sixth triple-double of the season, racking up 31 points, 17 boards and 10 assists. Khris Middleton followed closely behind with 26 points while Damian Lillard dropped 17 with eight assists.

Antetokounmpo leads Milwaukee with 31.2 points (third in NBA), 11.5 boards and 1.4 steals per game. Lillard is dishing 6.9 assists per night while Brook Lopez is second in the NBA with 2.9 blocks per game.

The Cavs were also on the road on Monday, taking down the Orlando Magic 126-99 to win their eighth consecutive game.

Coming off the bench, Sam Merrill led the way with 26 points by going 8 of 13 from beyond the arc.

Donovan Mitchell added 25 points and 13 assists while Jarrett Allen scored 14 and grabbed 11 boards, setting a franchise record with his 12th consecutive double-double.

Cleveland is led by Mitchell with 27.8 points, 6.1 assists and two steals per game. Allen leads the way down low, averaging 10.2 boards and 1.1 blocks per night.

On the injury front, Milwaukee’s report is clear with Jae Crowder’s return last week. Cleveland is still without Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, who did not travel with the team on this trip. Ty Jerome and Caris LeVert also missed Monday’s game; their status is unclear for Wednesday.

These division rivals have played twice this season, splitting the two games. They faced off just last week, and without Antetokounmpo on the floor, Cleveland dominated from the jump to win 135-95.

That was just the second game this season Milwaukee scored under 100 points. It was their largest loss of the season as well, by a good margin.

The way these teams find success has been very different thus far this season, with Milwaukee ranking second in the NBA in offensive rating (120.6) and Cleveland ranking third in defensive rating (110.7).

The team will play back-to-back games in Milwaukee to wrap up the season series. With a sweep, Cleveland has a chance to win the series against Milwaukee for the second time in three seasons, with it being an even 2-2 split a year ago.

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