Milwaukee Bucks vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/19/18
If the Milwaukee Bucks have any designs on a first division title in 17 years, they must beat the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night.
The Bucks (37-32) are three games behind the Central-leading Cavaliers (40-29), with the Indiana Pacers between them and one-half game behind Cleveland. Milwaukee, whose last division title in 2001 coincides with their last trip to the Eastern Conference finals, completed a four-game stretch against teams in the bottom third of the league with a 3-1 record after holding off Atlanta 122-117 on Saturday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Khris Middleton added 23 points and Eric Bledsoe chipped in 19 and nine assists. The Bucks turned 19 Hawks turnovers into 22 points, helping them withstand a career-high 38-point effort from Hawks forward Taurean Prince.
Short-handed Cleveland salvaged a split of their six-game road swing with a 114-109 victory at Chicago on Saturday night. LeBron James willed the Cavaliers to the win with his 15th triple-double of the season, totaling 33 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Center Ante Zizic continues to step up in the absence of injured regulars Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, adding 14 points on seven-of-nine shooting to go with six rebounds.
The Cavaliers, who had just nine healthy players, also lost coach Tyronn Lue for the second half as he was dealing with an illness. Kyle Korver missed the game due to personal reasons, and his status for this game is uncertain. Love, Thompson, Cedi Osman, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr. all sat due to injuries, with Love, Thompson and Osman all expected to miss this game, while Hood and Nance or day-to-day with back and hamstring injuries, respectively.