The Milwaukee Bucks faced a devastating defeat on Wednesday, unable to overcome the absence of their injured superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. They started the game trailing 22-2 and eventually succumbed to a lopsided 135-95 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who dominated from start to finish.
The Cavaliers established a commanding lead, reaching as high as a 47-point advantage in a wire-to-wire victory. Throughout the final three quarters, the Bucks found themselves trailing by double digits, with every starter for the Cavaliers finishing the game with a plus-33 or better rating. Donovan Mitchell showcased his prowess by scoring 31 points in just 26 minutes, while Jarrett Allen contributed significantly with a 21-point, 13-rebound performance in the paint.
Off the bench, Georges Niang had a standout game, scoring 33 points on an impressive 13-of-14 shooting. At halftime, Niang had outscored the entire Bucks starting unit, highlighting the team’s struggles.
Let’s start a narrative.
Darius Garland has surpassed Damian Lillard. pic.twitter.com/JCE5yAFSeL
— ¹⁰ (@HoodiGarland) January 18, 2024
Superstar guard Damian Lillard had a forgettable night, shooting just 7-of-20 and totaling 17 points, as Isaac Okoro effectively shut him down. Khris Middleton and Malik Beasley also had subpar performances, scoring two points each. The Cavaliers outscored the Bucks 74-42 in the paint and 33-8 on the fast break.
Despite missing Antetokounmpo, the Bucks couldn’t capitalize on the Cavaliers playing without stars Darius Garland and Evan Mobley. The loss sparked criticism from fans and analysts, especially directed towards Lillard and the Bucks’ overall performance.
The absence of Antetokounmpo was evident, but the Cavaliers demonstrated resilience in their six-game winning streak despite missing key players. The post-game narrative on social media highlighted the disappointment in Lillard’s performance and questioned the Bucks’ ability to compete without their star player.
As fans and analysts voiced their concerns, the Bucks now face the challenge of regaining momentum in upcoming road games against the struggling Detroit Pistons. The team aims to seek redemption in a pair of home games against the Cavaliers next week, hoping to erase the memory of this humbling defeat. Despite the setback, the Bucks maintain a solid position in the Eastern Conference with a 28-13 record, and the upcoming games present an opportunity for them to bounce back from this difficult loss.