Bucks 105, Cavs 102
--First off, just a tremendous shot by Michael Redd. He hits as 28-footer -- the box scored said 27 but I walked it off on the court on my way back from the Cavs locker room and I say 28, maybe 29 -- and leaves no time. Nothing you can do there but shake his hand. Big-time play. --Second off, the Cavs didn't lose the game on that play. Two issues. As was discussed at halftime, they got all out of sorts in the first half and let Milwaukee have 10 free baskets on fastbreaks. In the second half they close the floodgate, but insead of having a cushion they were behind. Second, you could see how uncomfortable everyone was in the fourth. It started out with promise, with LeBron sitting they extended the lead from three points to seven points and I was writing it like it was going to be a win. Then LeBron comes in and the Cavs get steamrolled. The old Cavs had their flaws, but they did know how to finish. This team has a learning curve to deal with now. There was miscommunication and tentative play. Anderson Varejao and Ben Wallace were throwing it out of the post, LeBron was committing unforced turnovers and Wally Szczerbiak couldn't buy a shot. --Third off, the officiating was uneven. The Cavs were openly complaining about getting just 14 free throws to the Bucks' 37. Not only were there bad calls, which happens because everyone is human, in my opinion there were guess calls which is just no good for anyone. This has been a bad week for these three officials: Brian Forte, Pat Fraher and Mike Callahan. The other night in Seattle, Kobe Bryant got hot at Forte and was tossed and then Phil Jackson ripped Forte, saying he had a "red ass" and suggested that the only reason the rookie was in the league was because his father, Joe Forte, is a veteran ref. You can read about it here. So my guess is these guys will have a tough review session coming up. But the worst move of the night, in my opinion, was in the third quarter after LeBron threw down a dunk. The net got stuck up in the rim and Fraher, a diminutive guy, attempted to leap up and free it. He whiffed. Ouch. --I'm just doing my job reporting about the officiating crew and their troubles. However, it was not why the Cavs lost the game. The fouls kept Milwaukee close but the Cavs fumbled it away in the end. No excuses. No, this was not one of my 5 percent games where the officials played a role in the outcome, sorry to disappoint you. --It may never be remembered, but LeBron's driving layup to tie the game with five seconds left was pretty impressive. Over two Bucks, just soaring and with his left hand. In fact, the Cavs were pretty strong in the last 30 seconds just to get to a tie. But they didn't deserve the win, honestly. --Karma is a funny thing. This is the second time this season the Cavs have been beated at the buzzer (in Utah by Deron Williams in November) but they've survived last-second shots too. How about DeShawn Stevenson Friday night, he missed. Last night he made a game-winner in New Orleans. --Damon Jones was 4-of-4 on 3-pointers tonight. He's currently having his best shooting streak as a Cav.
Cavs: Delonte West, Devin Brown, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Anderson Varejao Bucks: Mo Williams, Michael Redd, Desmond Mason, Charlie Villaneuva, Andrew Bogut
--For the first time this season Zydrunas Ilgauskas is going to miss a game, he has a bad cold. So does athletic trainer Max Benton and they are back at the hotel in bed. They are going to meet the Cavs at the airport to fly to Boston. --So Anderson Varejao is back after missing 13 games and is going right into the starting lineup. He will play 5, Wallace will stay at the 4. At the outset, that means guarding Villaneuva. But he may got back and forth depending on how Varejao feels and how many minutes he can play. Just how the big man rotation will work when everybody is healthy is still a mystery, but it will have to wait at least another day. --Let's see how the Cavs handle having two bigs who aren't great scorers together on the floor. Most of the time, there has been a scorer/shooter in there most of the time whether it was Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall or even LeBron at the 4. --The Bucks think they are turning a bit of a corner and are gaining some confidence. They are probably looking forward to this game as a chance to get the new look Cavs.
Halftime -- Bucks 57, Cavs 53
--No way the Cavs should be losing this game. They not a nice lead early and then they got very lazy. It showed in their transition defense, Milwaukee has 20 fastbreak points. --The Bucks are not shooting the ball well and the Cavs are scoring without much problem, which should mean a comfy lead. But Milwaukee is 16-of-16 at the foul line and has not committed a turnover. Which means they played a pretty good half. The Cavs are playing pretty good defense in the half court but it isn't earning them much. --Wally Szczberiak's shot looks very flat to me right now. Maybe it is always like that, he has a weird motion and lands in a wide stance. Still, he doesn't seem to be in good rhythm. --LeBron has made some unreal plays in this game already. Some of the baskets he's made in traffic have been sick and he made a pass to Damon Jones for a 3 after the ball was tipped. He just slapped it out of mid-air over to him. He's been a highlight reel yet nothing really flashy. --The Cavs are still in honeymoon mode, they need to buckle down and get serious. They should not lose this game. Let's see if the attitude is different in the second half.
Stars Mo Williams, 37 points, seven rebounds, six assists Michael Redd, 25 points LeBron James, 35 points, six assists
Quotes Mike Brown: “I question a jump-shooting team getting 37 free throws and LeBron gets five and we get a total of 14 for the game. I’ll have to go back and look at the tape, maybe we just fouled that much.” LeBron: “We made a plays and had a chance to win but that big shot cost us. We’re going to need a few weeks to get everything in motion, sometimes we’re out of place.”