Injury-riddled Cleveland confronts Milwaukee

Injury-riddled Cleveland hosts Milwaukee

After suffering a blowout loss vs. Milwaukee three weeks ago, Cleveland knew better than to take Jason Kidd’s crew lightly last night. Yet that didn’t stop the Bucks from producing a Grade-A effort all over again.

The Cavaliers barely escaped the BMO Harris Bradley Center with a 114-108 victory in overtime. This evening, the two Central Division rivals collide at Quicken Loans Arena for the second part of a back-to-back, home-and-home series. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the defending champs odds of -290 to prevail, whereas Milwaukee represents a +245 underdog.

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If not for some sketchy perimeter shooting, the Bucks (13-13) certainly could’ve registered their second straight win over Cleveland. Jabari Parker & Co. had only seven makes from beyond the arc. On the bright side, ultra-versatile swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his seventh 20-point outing of the month.

Meanwhile, the Cavs (20-6) struggled to find a reliable third scoring source behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Power forward Kevin Love missed the contest due to a left knee contusion, and he may be affixed to the bench in a few hours, too. If that’s the case, fill-in starter Richard Jefferson can’t possibly log another 35 minutes.

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To complicate matters further for the hosts, J.R. Smith’s (right thumb) status remains up in the air. They’ll clearly have to set the tone on defense and do a superior job of controlling the paint. Even if Tristan Thompson performs yeoman’s work, though, we project a fairly ugly tilt.

 

WEDNESDAY NBA FREE PICK: BUCKS/CAVALIERS UNDER 207 POINTS

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