Brook Lopez, Jordan Nwora and Bucks beat Cavaliers 113-98

The Milwaukee Bucks (11-3) returned to the win column with a 113-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum, sending the Cavs (8-6) to their fifth straight loss.

RELATED: Bucks turn to Bronzeville for inspiration on new City Edition jersey

Here are some takeaways from the game:

Brook Lopez continues to carry a heavy load

Jrue Holiday likes to note that Brook Lopez was the “snake leader” of the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, a leading low-post scorer who made an all-star team and remains the Nets’ franchise scorer. leader. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer admitted that since Lopez was in Milwaukee, they rarely asked him to be a player but a three-point spaceman for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) defends Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert.

On the last road trip, with Antetokounmpo sick, the Bucks needed Lopez down low. He told the Journal Sentinel he enjoyed it, because he was able to flex a muscle he hadn’t had in years.

On Wednesday Lopez moved back behind the three-point line and gave the short-handed Bucks a big win by hitting a season-best 7-for-9 from behind the three-point arc on his way to a season-high 29 points. – high.

“I put in the work so the confidence is there with the shot,” Lopez said. “Obviously Giannis is so good, he’s going to draw so much attention, so the rest of us have to be ready when we’re open. So many loads on him — you have to be ready to be open, catch it and shoot it. That’s pretty much it. Be in that mindset, but let it fly.”

Lopez was also 2 for 2 from the free throw line, pulled down five rebounds and blocked three shots. It helped offset a sluggish scoring night from Antetokounmpo (16 points on 6-of-18 shooting) and the measured output of Bobby Portis (10 points on 4-of-8 shooting).

BOX SCORE: Bucks 113, Cavaliers 98

Lopez has been one of the Bucks’ regular starters since opening night, and a good offensive game inside (or outside?) to go with first-team all-defense rim protection is key for the hot Bucks. start.

The Bucks bench steps up

Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer played five of his six bench players in the first half, and the group of Jordan Nwora, George Hill, AJ Green, Serge Ibaka and Sandro Mamukelashvili combined for 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting (56,3 %). , including 5 of 12 from behind the three-point line. They also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out three assists, a much-needed effort for the Bucks to take a 61-60 halftime lead.

Antetokounmpo and Jevon Carter each scored just six points in the first half while Portis had four and MarJon Beauchamp was scoreless. Lopez led all Bucks players with 18 at the break.

“Jordan was just a big hit off the bench, but then George was a bit more aggressive tonight, AJ hit the three – we had a bit of confidence going into the half to be up and all those guys contributed,” a Budenholzer said. “Sandro, I thought Sandro gave us some free throws, a tough basket in the paint. Sandro didn’t really get a chance to play. AJ didn’t play. Those two guys stepped up and helped us in the second quarter. .”

Nwora felt his offensive game was out of whack at the start of the year, but he opened up by hitting his first few three-pointers. Serge Ibaka scored 7 points on 3-of-3 shooting and Green saw his first action since undergoing surgery to repair a broken nose on Nov. 1.

“That’s what separates our group,” Lopez said on the Bucks bench. “So many people can say that (they’re deep). It’s just words, right? But we’re an unassuming group and we go out there and do it. That’s us. We don’t really talk much, we go out there and we know what to do and how to perform.”

The starters then took the cue and got more involved to open the second half, going on a 16-3 run to take a 77-63 lead and eventually push the margin to as many as 20.

Nwora had his best game of the season, finishing with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 5 for 9 from behind the three-point arc in 28 minutes.

“It meant a lot,” Nwora said of his breakout game. “Obviously it hasn’t been easy for me these past few weeks. But, it’s good to see it fall tonight. I’m not going to lose confidence in myself because of a bad couple of weeks but I’m happy that the shots tonight and we were able to win.”

Pat Connaughton managed to retire from the game

A little over a week ago, Pat Connaughton expressed some frustration to the Journal Sentinel with how slowly he got off the right calf strain of the season, but he was impressed that the team was winning and that the pace would slow down more. delay now wins. it may happen again later.

In Minnesota, the feeling was that he could be back within seven to 10 days – and he came back to practice on Tuesday the 11th.th day. He was upgraded to probably play on Wednesday evening but was ultimately held out against the Cavaliers

“We’re hopeful, just give it another day,” Budenholzer said. “It was tested today and further discussion, don’t try to rush it. You feel the wisest move would have been to give a little more time.”

Five numbers

6: Players available from the bench for the Bucks on Wednesday. Three of those players – Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Sandro Mamukelashvili and AJ Green – came together for 46 minutes before the game.

66: Joint points for Cavaliers stars Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley. The trio did a lot of damage, but the Bucks managed to keep the rest of the squad in check, especially sixth man of the year candidate Kevin Love (5 points on 1-of-3 shooting).

“Every night every team in the NBA has stars, so the stars are going to get their stats, get their numbers,” Nwora said. “If you can hold role players, don’t let them have a good night, that’s good. We were able to do that tonight. We were locked into our scout. Everyone was focused. Obviously We’re down a bunch of people so everyone’s super locked in and we were able to get the job done tonight.”

44.4: Peak three-point shooting percentage with starters still in the game, one of the team’s best showings of the year.

“Sometimes guys get hot, a team can get hot, everybody starts feeling good and they feed off each other,” Budenholzer said of the Bucks’ 16 threes. “Some of Brook’s shots, they are deep, they are intense, and when he starts to feel it. I thought Jordan had some good looks and for those to go in a lot for us. It can certainly be contagious and I think Brook. He started us.”

53-8: Bucks record in the Central Division since Budenholzer took over as head coach in 2018-19. It includes a 3-0 mark this season after Wednesday’s win.

495: Career blocks as a Buck for Lopez, tying him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 7 in franchise history.

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The game play is AJ Green’s first NBA points

Only the first time, and Bucks rookie AJ ​​Green scored his first NBA basket early in the second quarter on a three-pointer.

The game video is a Bucks video explaining their “City Edition” Uniforms.

Hat tip to artist Ammar Nsoroma.

Bucks injury report

  • Joe Ingles (left ACL): Out

  • Khris Middleton (left): Out

  • Wesley Matthews (right hamstring strain): Out

  • Grayson Allen (sprained right ankle): Out

  • Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain): Out

  • Pat Connaughton (right calf strain): Out

Who do the Bucks play next?

The Bucks hit the road to take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center at 6:30 pm The 76ers will be without James Harden, but Joel Embiid appears to be healthy and playing at a high level again. Milwaukee defeated Philadelphia 90-88 in its season opener on October 20.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.

COMPLETE THE APP: Get the latest news, sports and more

This article originally appeared on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brook Lopez, Jordan Nwora and bench mob key Bucks win 113-98 over Cavs

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