By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: After two difficult losses to begin their longest homestand of the season, the Cavaliers needed a punching bag to vent some frustrations. So the Milwaukee Bucks showed up just in time.
Anderson Varejao scored 16 points, Kyrie Irving had 10 points and 10 assists and Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 10 rebounds in an easy 93-78 victory Friday against the woeful Bucks.
It was one of the Cavs’ most lopsided wins of the season and the fewest points they’ve surrendered to an opponent all year. The lead was 16 after the third quarter, allowing Mike Brown to bench his starters for the entire fourth quarter.
“I’ll take this every game,” Brown said.
The Bucks have now dropped 10 of their past 11 to fall to an NBA-worst 8-34. That matters little to a Cavs team that has struggled putting away opponents too often this season.
It happened again briefly in the first quarter, when the Bucks went scoreless for more than five minutes and the Cavs scored 17 consecutive points, yet by the end of the quarter the Bucks were back within 24-23.
But the Cavs limited the Bucks to just two baskets through the first 5½ minutes of the second quarter, again building the lead to double figures. They led comfortably the rest of the night.
The Bucks shot 41 percent and were in danger of setting their own season-low in points (72) before a late flurry in the final two minutes.
“You play a team and they score 78 points and shoot 40 percent in a 48-minute game, that’s a pretty good job,” Brown said.
Irving had his fifth career double-double (without a turnover) the day after he was named an All-Star starter for the first time in his career.
“A lot of hoping and wishing,” Irving said of being named a starter. “It’s a great accomplishment. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the fans. I’m blessed and thankful for all of them to be a starter in the East.”
Jarrett Jack had 10 points and three assists, Luol Deng had nine points and five rebounds and Tyler Zeller had eight points. Anthony Bennett, after being benched the past five games, played the final 5:14 of the blowout, but missed all four of his shot attempts and committed three fouls. He made two free throws in the final minute for his only points.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.