The Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks hooked up on Monday night and provided Cavs fans with an entertaining game to close out a successful month of February. With the win, the Cavaliers finished the month 9-2, recovering from a 7-8 January. It was certainly not a perfect performance from the Cavaliers, but an encouraging one going forward.
LeBron James returned after missing Saturday’s loss to the Bulls due to strep throat. The King lead the Cavaliers with what felt like a quiet, but efficient 24 point performance that was augmented by 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Kyrie Irving did Kyrie Irving things, scoring 25 points and dishing out 9 assists. The Cavaliers lead just 86-85 with just over 5 minutes left, but locked down the Bucks and went on an 11-0 to increase the lead to 12 and held on for the win.
Derrick Williams continued to prove his worth to the Cavaliers, providing the Cavs with energy off the bench. Williams added 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Williams added 7 rebounds in his 27 minutes of play.
Most importantly, the Cavaliers delivered on the defensive end after giving up 117 points to the Bulls on their home court on Saturday. To match the athleticism of the Bucks, Ty Lue inserted Richard Jefferson into the starting lineup in lieu of Channing Frye. Jefferson and Williams drew the challenge of defending Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was limited to just 9 points on 4 of 13 shooting. Jefferson, Williams, and company were able to match Antetokounmpo’s length. The Cavaliers switched in most pick-and-roll situations and doubled the Greek Freak when the matchup was unfavorable. The strategy certainly paid off.
Following Monday’s win, the Cavaliers move on to a long month of March that will see them play 12 of 17 games away from Quicken Loans Arena. On the bright side, help is on the way. Just before game time, the signing of veteran guard Deron Williams became official. The Cavaliers likely will re-gain the services of JR Smith at some point during March, as well. It remains to be seen whether the Cavaliers will add veteran center Andrew Bogut to the mix, as well.
The month of March starts off Wednesday night in Boston as the Cavaliers will tango with the Celtics.