Bucks: Mo Williams, Michael Redd, Desmond Mason, Yi Jianlian, Andrew Bogut Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilguaskas
Officials Dan Crawford, Monty McCutcheon, John Goble
--Gibson is back in the starting lineup and says he's 100 percent. --Tonight is really more about the Cavs than anything, we'll see if they can get their act together. The offense and defense have both been very sick and there hasn't been any practice since. So it will be mind over matter here. --Bucks are a good rebounding team, especially offensive rebounding. The Cavs have been getting whipped there lately so we'll see how that plays out. --The Cavs are going to have problems keeping Mo Williams in front of them. That could be a serious defensive issue. Michael Redd is going to make his shots, but you can't have Williams in the middle all night. There's a chance LeBron will be put on him if Gibson, Larry Hughes or Eric Snow can't get it done. --Sasha can't keep playing this bad, can he?
Halftime -- Cavs 46, Bucks 44
--Cavs held the Bucks to 8-of-22 shooting in the second quarter and have been working hard on their rotations. Which is why they are ahead despite shooting just 42 percent. However, Mo Williams and Michael Redd are a combined 2-of-13. Can that keep up? --LeBron James has seven free throws already, he is looking to drive much more tonight. He's not being super active but is picking his spots and showing some aggression, which is what the Cavs need. --Cavs have looked pretty aggressive on the boards and have worked to get back on defense off long rebounds. These are pure effort upgrades from the last few games, let's see if it keeps up. --Larry Hughes is 2-of-8 and it's actually looked worse and he's been playing his preferred shooting guard spot and running off picks, etc., etc., sort of leaves him out of excuses. --Lots of really average big men have been dunking on the Cavs lately, tonight it's been Jake Voskuhl. But then again, Yi scored nine points in eight minutes and we didn't see him the rest of the half so maybe it's just as well.
Postgame -- Cavs 104, Bucks 99, double overtime Stars LeBron James, 31 points, eight rebounds Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 24 points, 11 rebounds Devin Brown, 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists Desmond Mason, 15 points, 11 rebounds
--At times this looked like two really bad teams figuring out ways to keep themselves from winning. But in all honesty the Cavs must start somewhere, so this is as good as place as any I suppose. --Much credit must be given to Devin Brown, whose gutty play seemed to inspire the rest of the team at times tonight. He's got his flaws and he'll not play this way all the time, but the Cavs needed a spark from somewhere. It came out of nowhere. Let's just assume Damon Jones, Eric Snow and Shannon Brown weren't really thrilled because they didn't play. In my mind none of them deserved to be benched, but the team was losing with them playing. --There were some poor calls both ways by the officials, especially by rookie ref John Goble, in my opinion. But, as unbiased as I can be, I feel it was the right call to swallow the whistle when Andrew Bogut battled Z in the closing moments of double overtime. Z bumped him but he went straight up and I felt it was an OK non-call. In case you missed it, Bogut got an offensive rebound and missed the putback. --The Cavs didn't turn the ball over for the last 23 minutes of the game. That is simply unreal. Devin gets some credit there, too, he was playing as the Cavs backup point guard tonight. --Other than a couple of occasions, Mo Williams didn't get deep penetration. Michael Redd missed some wide open shots but that might've been some karma from the last game when he made some with people in his face. Overall, the Cavs did a good job of playing defense and held Milwaukee to 42 percent shooting and Redd and Williams for 13-of-42. This is how they won games last year, they didn't play good offense but they battled on defense and found a way at the end. --LeBron looked a little too passive at times, especially when he passed up an open 12-footer to pass the ball to Brown for a 3-pointer in overtime, but he got it down when it counted. He made a huge jumper at the end of regulation and made a big-time, left-handed driving layup to seal the game in double overtime. He's still not back yet, but he was better tonight. I thought Desmond Mason did a really good job on him for much of the night, one of the best defensive performances on LeBron this season. --There is such a huge difference in Z's game when LeBron is on the court. He's been a different player over the last couple games. More on that later.
Quotes Larry Krystkowiak: "There's some calls late in that game that I think our team and our league needs to take a little look at. I'll leave it at that." LeBron: "We just made a couple more plays down the stretch than they did," James said. "It was a tough game to win, but we needed it."
p.s. I promised a shout out to Dave from Kent, a reader I met at the game tonight and a fellow Kent State grad. Thanks for reading, Dave, and to all of you as well.
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