Bucks Top Cavs in OT
David Liam Kyle
Already playing without the starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Anthony Parker, the short-handed Wine and Gold lost Anderson Varejao to a sprained left wrist early in the third quarter. But the Cavs continued to claw and pushed the ballgame to an extra-session, where they eventually fell to the Bucks, 113-112, at The Q.
The Cavaliers shot just 56 percent from the stripe, and it was two misses that might’ve cost them the win.
Antawn Jamison, who put the squad on his shoulders for most of the night, was fouled on a rebound with 3.7 seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 102-apiece. But Jamison – who’d already turned in a 34-point, 10-rebound night – missed both free throws and the game went to overtime.
In the overtime session, Cleveland never regained its rhythm and former Cavalier, Drew Gooden, scored six of his 19 points – including a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game with 4.4 remaining in OT. Alonzo Gee canned a three-pointer at the buzzer to bring the final score to within a point.
“I thought we started to play the game not to lose instead of playing to win,” lamented Coach Scott. “When you do that, sometimes it bites you in the butt. And I thought that’s what happened to us at the end.”
Jamison turned in a heroic effort – free throws not withstanding – going 14-for-21 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long distance. He finished with 11 boards and scored 23 of his season-high 34 points in the second half.
The Cavaliers had chances to ice the game – taking a 15-lead in the first half and running their edge to 10 late in the third. But Milwaukee’s Shaun Livingston keyed a 9-3 run to start the fourth, drawing the Bucks to within striking distance.
Ramon Sessions, getting his second straight start in place of Irving, finished with 12 points and a season-high 16 assists. Daniel Gibson, subbing for Parker, added 17 points, eight assists and six boards before fouling out late in overtime.
“When you get a lead, you try to hold on to it, as opposed to doing the things that got you that lead,” reasoned Boobie. “Sometimes that happens, but I thought we played hard and I felt we stayed together. I just thought, in the end, they ended up making a few more plays than we did.”
Even with a thin bench, the Cavs got solid production from their second unit. Alonzo Gee finished with 18 points – going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. And rookie Tristan Thompson, in his first game back, grabbed 13 boards – four off the offensive glass – and swatted three shots.
The Cavaliers are back at it on Saturday night when they welcome the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia 76ers to The Q for the first time this season.
“I feel good,” said the former Longhorn. “My ankle is doing great. I’ve got to give all the credit to our (athletic performance) team for getting me back on the court. Without them, who knows where I’d be right now.”