8 p.m.; Bradley Center; FS Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
|PG Kyrie Irving||6-3, 191||18.8||3.9||5.7|
|SG Anthony Parker||6-6, 210||6.3||2.4||2.4|
|SF Alonzo Gee||6-6, 219||10.6||4.9||1.7|
|PF Antawn Jamison||6-9, 235||17.4||6.5||1.8|
|C Tristan Thompson||6-9, 227||7.8||6.1||0.4|
|PG Brandon Jennings||6-1, 169||18.7||3.4||5.6|
|SG Monta Ellis||6-3, 185||20.3||3.4||5.9|
|SF Luc Mbah a Moute||6-8, 230||7.5||5.2||0.7|
|PF Ersan Ilyasova||6-10, 235||12.7||8.8||1.1|
|C Drew Gooden||6-10, 250||14.0||6.6||2.5|
Officials: Dan Crawford, Eric Dalen, Courtney Kirkland
Injury report: Cavs -- Anderson Varejao (wrist) out, Daniel Gibson (ankle) out. Bucks -- Beno Udrih (hand) questionable, Carlos Delfino (groin) questionable, Kwame Brown (pectoral) out.
* Less than a week after the Bucks thrashed the Cavs by 37 at the Q, the two teams meet again tonight in Milwaukee. Now might be a good time to say a prayer for the Cavs.
* A couple of days before Christmas, I showed up to Cavs practice wearing half of a suit. We had a Christmas dinner party planned with the family that night and I wasn’t going to have time to change after practice. Byron Scott walked over, looked at my outfit and cracked “You just come from church?” to which I replied, “Yeah, I said a prayer for you.” Byron cracked up, then said “I hope it was a good one.”
* Right about now, the Cavs need prayer. Or a miracle. Or maybe just a good, swift kick in the rear end. They aren’t a very good team, but they also shouldn’t be getting destroyed every night by 20-plus points. And the Cavs have lost their last seven games by an average of 22.3 points. That’s completely unacceptable.
* The Cavs’ defense was atrocious on Tuesday. They got whipped on pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll. Tony Parker toyed with Kyrie Irving, dribbling by him like he was on skates. That has to improve – quickly. The Cavs’ perimeter defense must be much, much better tonight or Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis will destroy them.
* Nights like tonight are when the Cavs really miss Daniel Gibson. He was struggling through a miserable year shooting the ball, but he was the Cavs’ best perimeter defender. Now the Cavs have a backcourt consisting of Irving, who has been beaten badly defensively on a number of nights this season, 36-year-old Anthony Parker and a pair of D-League players in Donald Sloan and Lester Hudson. Sloan and Hudson are about the same size, and neither is much over 6 feet tall.
* All of that is a long-winded way of saying the Cavs are struggling to defend the perimeter and the Bucks have a pair of explosive guards who can torture a bad defense.
* The Bucks have won six straight over the Cavs and are trying to sweep the season series for the first time since 2002-03. More importantly, the Cavs are just hoping to get out of Milwaukee without more injuries. Anderson Varejao fractured his wrist against the Bucks earlier this season and Irving sprained his shoulder against them last week.
* Ersan Ilyasova has turned into the quiet killer for the Bucks. A free agent this summer, Ilyasova is putting up terrific numbers and has posted double-doubles in each of his last three games. That includes last week’s win over the Cavs when he returned after missing a game with back spasms to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds. And yes, Irving injured his shoulder after colliding with him late in the second quarter.
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