Though the Cavs were defeated in Monday night’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, 129-112, newly-appointed head coach John Beilein saw a lot of positives in the way his young team played.
The Cavs played surprisingly well against one of the tougher foes in the NBA. In fact, Cleveland actually led the Bucks by one point after the first quarter of play, 31-30. The Bucks would pull away a bit, but the Cavs hung around until the closing minutes of the game. In fact, a Tristan Thompson dunk cut Cleveland’s deficit to just five points near the nine minute mark of the fourth. In the end, though, Milwaukee managed to stave off the late rally.
Rightfully so, Giannis Antetokounmpo is recognized as one of the best players in today’s NBA. However, the Cavs limited the Greek Freak to just 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds. It was Milwaukee’s reserves who carried the day, as George Hill had 19 points and Pat Connaughton scored 17, including 14 in the first half.
All things considered, Beilein was impressed with the way his team competed:
“There are so many positives that we’re going to find in this game,” Beilein told FOX Sports Ohio during his post-game media availability. “(Milwaukee) is a tremendous team, and they were hungry after a loss to Miami. We were down five with seven minutes to go.
“We’re gonna learn from this game,” Beilein added, “but humility is sometimes a great teacher.”
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) October 29, 2019
Collin Sexton led the charge for the Cavs, scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting, three rebounds and one assist. Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson each added 17. Larry Nance Jr. had 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
“This is a great team,” Nance Jr. told ESPN after Monday’s loss to the Bucks. “They’re probably picked to come out of the East this year. “So to play on their court and battle them down to near the last minute is positive.”
The Cavs will be back in action on Wednesday night, when they’ll serve as hosts to the Chicago Bulls. Tip-off inside the recently-renovated Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.