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Cleveland – The Milwaukee Bucks used the last game of the regular season to rest before defending the NBA title.

Cavaliers had no such luxury.

Kevin Love made eight three-pointers and scored 32 points as Cleveland finished eighth in play — and a game against Brooklyn — with a 133-115 victory Sunday over the Bucks, which sat star Giannis Antetokounmpo and their other regulars.

The Cavs were in danger of falling all the way to the #10 seed in the Eastern Conference with a loss.

However, they ended any suspense immediately, scoring the first 14 points and controlling a team of back-up bucks. Cleveland made 10 three-pointers with a 28-point lead in the first quarter and Cleveland led 33 in the inning.

“They played the game with a purpose,” coach JB Bickerstaff said. “Times this year we were in circumstances where we didn’t play with 48 minutes of purpose. Tonight, I thought they did a great job getting out, setting the tone and playing the game the way we needed to.”

Love took all his damage in 15 minutes, matching his career high of 3 seconds and adding 10 rebounds.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Low is the first player since 1954 (in the shot clock era) to score at least 10 rebounds in 15 minutes or less.

Rookie Evan Mobley added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who had won just 22 games a year ago and weren’t expected to be anywhere near the playoffs. But here they are and will now face the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday night as the winner advances to the first round.

Cleveland went 1-3 against Brooklyn this season, but the Caves led the Nets in the fourth quarter on Friday night before collapsing in time of crisis.

“I like our chances when it comes to dogfighting,” Love said. “That’s what will happen on Tuesday night.”

The Bucks trimmed a 40-point deficit to 12 in fourth against the Cleveland Reserve before Bickerstaff re-introduced Mobley, Darius Garland and Laurie Markkanen and Cavas regained control.

Milwaukee rookie Sandro Mamokilashvili scored a season-high 28 points and 13 rebounds.

With the top three seed already included, the Bucks rested on Antetokounmpo alongside starters Khris Middleton, Brooke Lopez and Bobby Portes – a bonus to the defending champions after another solid year.

Jrue Holiday started for the Bucks but only played seven seconds. He was going to get a bonus by playing, so Holiday took the ground for the jump ball, made a mistake on the spot and was logged out.

Assuming they get the No. 3 seed (Boston plays No. 2 at Memphis on Sunday night), the Bucks will play No. 6 in Chicago in the first round and avoid an early match against Brooklyn, which puts Milwaukee into seven games in the conference. Semi-finals last season.

“It’s great to have 82 games in the bank, and we have good health,” he said. coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Men know we have a special group and we have a special opportunity.”

And the Cavaliers, who have maneuvered around injuries all season, are still without All-Star player Garrett Allen. He hasn’t played since breaking a finger on March 5, but he could be ready for post-season.

While the Cavs have higher goals, Bickerstaff wanted his players to appreciate championship-making.

“These opportunities, and this is what I want our men to understand, are not promised, and they are not guaranteed,” He said. “We have guys in this team that took them six or seven years to get to the playoffs. I, personally, had my ninth season before I had the chance to compete in a playoff, so that just goes to show that just because you’re in the league, that’s guaranteed.”


Bucks: Despite finishing the season averaging 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists, Antetokounmpo looks odd in a tight MVP race. …George Hill (neck ache) held out, but Budenholzer said that “Very optimistic” About the veteran playing in the postseason. Hill missed 17 games through injury from January 30 to March 12. … J. Grayson Allen (left thigh soreness) wasn’t available for the third game in a row.

Cavaliers: C Moses Brown’s double-decade contract turned into a standard NBA charter. He is now eligible to participate in the tournament and playoffs. … Rajon Rondo has 13 assists per season. …Cleveland finished 44-38, doubling their win total from 2021.

Allen update

Allen did an intense workout on the floor before the match, taking in a variety of drills and shooting with his injured left hand.

He’s no longer wearing a protective splint and only his fingers are taped, another strong sign that he’s about to get ready.

Cavaliers missed him on both ends of the field.

‘He’s making strides’ Bickerstaff said. “It’s just one of those things, the day will come and he’ll be ready to go.”

next one

Bucks: The Bucks went 4-0 against the Bulls this season.

Cavaliers: He will appear in the first game on Tuesday.

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