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News » CAVALIERS 97, BUCKS 85 Going stays tough James' 32 points cap rough month


CAVALIERS 97, BUCKS 85 Going stays tough James' 32 points cap rough month


CAVALIERS 97, BUCKS 85  Going stays tough  James' 32 points cap rough month
The good news for the Milwaukee Bucks is they finally have navigated through a difficult November.

The bad news?

"It doesn't get any easier," coach Scott Skiles said. "December's not easy and January's not easy."

The Bucks completed their arduous November schedule Saturday night at the Bradley Center, where they were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 97-85. The Bucks finished the month with a 6-11 record and are 7-12 overall.

The Bucks gave Cleveland a tussle, but Milwaukee never led and saw its losing streak reach four games.

Saturday's game marked the return of Bucks guard Michael Redd, who missed 14 games with an ankle sprain. Redd came off the bench and scored a team-high 20 points in 35 minutes. The Bucks cut a 16-point, third-quarter deficit to two twice in the fourth quarter but could get no closer as Cleveland's LeBron James took over down the stretch. James scored 13 of the Cavaliers final 15 points.

Skiles has said he has never seen a schedule like the one the Bucks played in November, which included eight sets of back-to-back games.

"We've had our good moments," Skiles said. "We've had our moments that haven't been so good. The guys are trying to stay focused and trying to play hard still. We've just made too many mistakes. We just make so many mistakes and it's hurt us. But a lot of them were understandable. We're still getting to know each other. The guys are still learning what we're expecting, on the defensive end especially, and so we're occasionally leaving the page and doing things that we wouldn't normally do and it's hurt us in some games."

Skiles shuffled his lineup for Saturday's game, starting Ramon Sessions at shooting guard in place of Charlie Bell, and Charlie Villanueva at power forward in place of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Villanueva strained his left hamstring Friday night in Detroit, and Skiles wanted him to start while he was still loose from warm-ups. But Skiles was also looking to shake things up after losing three in a row on the road.

"We lost three games where we could have won all three but we didn't have the necessary defensive intensity," Skiles said. "So I'm going to try and get something going here."

Richard Jefferson scored 19 points for the Bucks, Sessions added 16 and Luke Ridnour sank 4 three-pointers and scored 15 points. The Bucks shot 39.2%, were bullied on the boards and committed 18 turnovers. James led Cleveland with 32 points, and center Zydrunas Ilgauskas pitched in 23 points and 17 rebounds.

"We tried different things (on James)," Skiles said. "Probably three or four coverages on him during the course of the game. As a lot of great players do, he has a really good sense of timing when to kind of take over. Both games we've played against him we've struggled to contain him in any meaningful way. He took it to us pretty good there."

Redd entered the game for the first time with 5 minutes 7 seconds left in the first quarter and Cleveland leading, 11-8. Redd made one of two shots and the Cavaliers led after one quarter, 20-16. Cleveland extended its lead to 11 early in the second quarter, but the Bucks trimmed it to 29-23 after a three-pointer by Redd with 7:31 left. Cleveland scored seven straight points to take a 13-point lead late in the quarter, but a three-point play by Redd helped Milwaukee cut the lead to 48-38 at halftime.

Two jumpers by Ilgauskas and two free throws by James opened the third quarter, and the Cavaliers had their biggest lead of the night. The Cavaliers took a 72-67 lead into the fourth.

"I thought our guys played hard tonight," Skiles said. "I thought they tried to turn up the defense after the last three games. We scrambled around pretty good."

Copyright 2008, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008

 

 
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