CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 28 points, LeBron James added 26 with 10 assists and Mike Miller provided a much-needed spark off Cleveland’s bench, leading the Cavaliers to their fourth straight win, 111-108 over the precocious Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
Kevin Love added 27 for the Cavs, who got all they could handle from the young Bucks. James made 8 of 10 free throws in the final 33 seconds to put Milwaukee away.
Brandon Knight scored 24 and 19-year-old rookie Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, had 22 points for Milwaukee.
Miller, who wasn’t used by coach David Blatt in the previous three games, made two 3-pointers, grabbed seven rebounds and had a key block in 18 minutes — all in the second half.
The Cavs trailed 89-86 when Love hit a tying 3-pointer with 4:44 left. Milwaukee pushed the ball up the floor and 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo seemed to have a mismatch on a drive, but he had his baseline shot blocked by Miller.
Irving made a twisting layup and was fouled. His three-point play made it 92-89, and after a Milwaukee miss, James scored on a driving layup to put the Cavs up five with 3:48 left.
Still, the Bucks stayed close and were within four on Knight’s 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go.
O.J. Mayo’s dunk gave Milwaukee a 74-63 lead, promoting a Cleveland timeout. The Cavs responded as Miller, who won two titles with James in Miami, hit a transition 3-pointer to ignite a 9-0 run in less than a minute and Cleveland pulled even at 79-all after three.
Cleveland’s bench has struggled all season, and Milwaukee’s second unit outscored the Cavs’ reserves 21-2 in the first half as the Bucks took a 54-52 lead at the break.
Bucks: Parker made the game’s most sensational play, beating Anderson Varejao with a crossover dribble and delivering a vicious, left-handed dunk. … F Ersan Ilyasova missed the second half with a facial bruise. He scored nine in the second quarter. In the second half, he was taken to the Cleveland Clinic for tests. A team spokesman said it was not clear if Ilyasova would return home with the team. … Center Zaza Pachulia was back after attending his grandmother’s funeral in the Republic of Georgia and missing two games. The 6-foot-11 big man “traveled halfway around the world,” coach Jason Kidd said, and arrived in Cleveland at 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
Cavaliers: Cleveland has reportedly submitted a bid to host the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. James was aware of the possibility, joking it could be a personal nightmare. “It would be too much for me,” he cracked. “I think it would be great for us to host it, but hopefully I’m no good in that year. Family and friends, I don’t want it. Too much.” … Backup PG Matthew Dellavedova, who has been out since spraining his left knee in the season’s third game, could return Thursday when the Cavs are in New York. The team has missed his energy and effort. … The Cavs play five of their next six on the road.
Bucks: Host Dallas on Wednesday.
Cavaliers: At New York on Thursday.
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