Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 26th 2024

The Milwaukee Bucks will once again host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night for the second consecutive game with an opportunity to win the season series.

The Bucks took down the Cavs 126-116 on Wednesday night in their first game after dismissing head coach Adrian Griffin. Assistant Joe Prunty served as interim head coach.

Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered his second consecutive triple-double and seventh of the season, finishing with 35 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton added 28 and 24 points, respectively.

“At the end of the day, we play the game, players play the game,” Antetokoumpo said, referring to the Bucks’ coaching situation. “I can break it down, go from defense to offense, there’s a lot of things we can do better.”

Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland with 23 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the floor and had eight assists. Jarrett Allen added 21 and 12 rebounds.

“Give the Bucks credit, they’re a prideful team, there’s champions over there in that locker room,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We expected their intensity to be lifted today, but we were not out of this game by any means.”

The Cavaliers’ eight-game win streak came to an end, with one of those wins on Jan. 17 when they handed the Bucks their largest loss of the season, 135-95 at Cleveland.

Mitchell leads Cleveland with 27.6 points, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Allen leads with 10.3 rebounds and just over a block per game.

Milwaukee is led by Antetokounmpo with 31.3 points, 11.1 boards and 1.3 steals. Lillard is dishing just under seven assists per game while Brook Lopez remains second in the league with his 2.9 blocks per game.

On the injury front, the Bucks’ report remains clear. Cleveland is still without Evan Mobley (knee), Darius Garland (jaw), Tristan Thompson (suspension) and Ty Jerome (ankle).

Cleveland’s Caris LeVert was able to play Wednesday despite being questionable with a wrist injury.

The biggest question mark going into Friday’s game is the Bucks’ coaching situation.

Doc Rivers has agreed to a deal to become the Bucks new head coach, according to multiple reports. That deal has yet to be announced as official as of Thursday afternoon.

Prunty talked about the tough task of stepping into the role of interim head coach and focusing on winning on Wednesday just a day after the head coach he served under was fired.

“That’s one of the things we talked about as a team,” Prunty said. “We still have responsibilities, roles and jobs we have to do on the court. So you just move forward, but it’s a tough situation.”

If Rivers is on the bench Friday, Cleveland will have faced Milwaukee three times in the last 10 days against a different head coach.

Milwaukee has won two of three games against Cleveland this season with Friday’s being the finale of the four-game set. The Bucks have not won the series since the 2020-21 season as the teams split last year and Cleveland won three-of-four the year prior.

–Field Level Media

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