Led by 24 points from LeBron James, six Cleveland Cavaliers scored in double digits as the defending Eastern Conference champions defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 116-97, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday.
After posting a 37-point, 13-rebound effort two nights before, Giannis Antetokounmpo filled up the stat sheet yet again, scoring 34 points, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing eight assists and accruing three steals.
Whereas his supporting cast mostly struggled, James' flourished.
The Cavs posted an excellent all-around offensive performance, shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from three-point range. They did well finding the open man all night, which was the case on this alley-oop pass from Kevin Love to James:
Cleveland Cavaliers @cavs
You'll want the replay of this @KingJames 1st half dunk 👀 #StriveForGreatness🚀 https://t.co/85GmS65DSP2017-10-21 00:31:08
Shooting guard Kyle Korver was hot from deep, making five of six three-pointers and hitting another field goal for a 17-point performance in just 19 minutes off the bench:
Cleveland Cavaliers @cavs
Watch @KyleKorver sink all five of his #CavsBucks triples ... with 3 in the 3Q! 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 https://t.co/wFZieCuwdF2017-10-21 01:10:20
Love posted a double-double, registering 17 points and 12 boards in addition to six assists. The Cavs looked to set up Love early in the game, a plan that worked well as he scored 11 in the first quarter alone:
Jae Crowder (14 points), Derrick Rose (12) and Jeff Green (10) rounded out the double-digit scoring efforts for the Cavs.
Despite the Cavs' night, Antetokounmpo showed why he might be a serious candidate in the NBA MVP discussion. More impressive than his aforementioned stat line was the fact that he accomplished those marks while turning the ball over just twice and missing only seven of 22 field goals.
NBA columnist Shane Young posted Antetokounmpo's stats for his first two games, numbers that seem like they are from NBA 2K:
Shane Young @YoungNBA
Giannis Antetokounmpo in his first 2 games this season (1-1): 71 points, 21 rebounds, 11 assists, 7 turnovers, 28/44 (63.6%) from the field2017-10-21 01:21:31
Outside of guard Malcolm Brogdon, who scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, the Bucks largely struggled from the field. Not counting him and Antetokounmpo, the Bucks shot just 17-of-48 (35.4 percent). No other Buck hit double digits.
The game was tied at 25 after the first quarter, but the Cavs slowly began pulling away for the remainder of the contest. Milwaukee cut the Cavs' lead to 71-68 late in the third quarter, but the Cavs proceeded to go on a 15-5 run heading into the fourth. A James dunk highlighted the rally:
NBA TV @NBATV
.@KingJames making sure it drops! https://t.co/E7BMO4CR9Z2017-10-21 00:49:23
The Bucks were unable to edge any closer than 12 points for the rest of the game.
Cleveland is now 2-0 and will travel home to face the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. The 1-1 Milwaukee Bucks will also play the second game of a back-to-back as the Portland Trail Blazers come to town.