NBA Basketball

Antetokounmpo may miss Bucks' battle with Cavs

On paper, Milwaukee versus Cleveland would appear to be no contest.

The Bucks have the best record in the league. The Cavaliers have the league's third-worst record.

Milwaukee has cooled off of late and travels to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers Wednesday night. The Bucks have defeated the Cavs twice this season. Despite their record, the Cavaliers don't resemble the team that lost to the Bucks by 16 back on Dec. 10.

"Success is not always necessarily measured on wins and losses," Cavs coach Larry Drew said. "Are those guys the same players they were at the start of the season? By no stretch of the imagination are they. These guys have really, really shown growth."

While the future looks bright in Cleveland, the future is now for Milwaukee. They've cooled off a bit and are just 5-4 in their last nine games after beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Khris Middleton led the way with 30 points. Brook Lopez added 28.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who tweaked his right ankle while scoring 52 points in a loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, sat out.

"I tweaked it a little bit and at first felt a bit of pain, but the adrenaline kicks in and I just wanted to keep playing," he said.

Antetokounmpo is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game.

The Bucks were already adjusting to life without Malcolm Brogdon and his 15.6 points per game. Brogdon is out indefinitely with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot.

"We definitely felt it tonight," Antetokounmpo said after the Philadelphia loss. "Not having Malcolm is a big loss. We have to play as a team and we have a lot of guys who have to be ready to step up."

On Tuesday, Milwaukee signed Tim Frazier to help offset the loss of Brogdon. In 47 games with New Orleans this season, Frazier averaged 5.0 points and 4.4 assists per game.

"They're the No. 1 team for a reason," Frazier told the Journal Sentinel. "Great coaches, great players ... so I'm just coming in and trying to learn as much as possible and help."

Milwaukee also was without Sterling Brown, Donte DiVincenzo and Ersan Ilyasova for the game against the Lakers.

The Bucks will get no sympathy from the Cavaliers, who have dealt with injuries all season. Cleveland dressed just nine players -- seven who scored in double figures in a win over Detroit.

Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova all missed the game.

Since the All-Star Break, the Cavs are 5-2 at home and are averaging 112.1 points. The catalyst has been rookie Collin Sexton, who has elevated his game.

Sexton is averaging 21.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range in the last 18 games.

Sexton scored 27 against Detroit and became the first rookie to score at least 23 points in six consecutive games since Tim Duncan did it twice for the San Antonio Spurs in 1998.

Criticized as a poor shooter coming out of Alabama, Sexton has worked hard.

"I knew coming into the season that was the biggest thing, I couldn't shoot, so I work each and every day to try to make sure my 3 ball is good and make sure my jump shot looks good," Sexton said. "That motivates me a whole lot, just to show and prove people wrong."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 19, 2019

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