NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 20th (All times Eastern)
Milwaukee Bucks (5-20) at Cleveland Cavaliers (9-15), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Cavaliers could be without two major contributors when they host the Milwaukee Bucks Friday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Cavs leading scorer Kyrie Irving missed Thursday's practice with an illness and is listed as questionable. He is averaging 21.1 points per game.
Guard Dion Waiters, who is second on the Cavs with 14.9 ppg, is dealing with right wrist tendinitis and is also questionable versus Milwaukee.
Cleveland has lost two in a row with both Irving and Waiters in the lineup and had won three straight and five of six games until the recent slide. In Tuesday's tough 119-116 loss to Portland, Blazers guard Damian Lillard hit the game-winning 3-pointer with four-tenths of a second on the clock and scored 36 points on 11-of-23 shooting.
"Big-time players make big-time shots, and that's what he did in our home," Irving said. "Damian Lillard played a hell of a game and just got hot."
Irving, who finished with 25 points and 10 assists, helped the Cavs pull even after being down 10 points with about two minutes left in the game, then missed well behind the 3-point line at the buzzer. The Cavs had won four in a row at home and are now 7-4 at the Q.
Waiters also scored 25 points, Tristan Thompson had 15 and Andrew Bynum contributed 13 points and nine rebounds for the Cavs, who made 9-of-17 from downtown in defeat. Waiters has six 20-point games and is averaging 17.1 points in his last 10 games.
Thompson is averaging 13.6 points and 11.1 rebounds over his last eight games.
Milwaukee has struggled to a 5-20 record this season and hopes to get back on track after Wednesday's 107-101 setback in double overtime versus the New York Knicks. Brandon Knight played nearly 50 minutes and totaled a career-high 36 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks, losers in four straight and 18 of its last 21 games.
"The margin of error is small with this team," Bucks head coach Larry Drew said. "I thought from a mental standpoint we wore down."
The Bucks have been without Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino, Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia. O.J. Mayo (personal) and Gary Neal (foot) have been sidelined as well and are both questionable against the Cavs. Butler hasn't played since Nov. 27 versus Washington and is probable.
Milwaukee defeated Cleveland, 109-104, on Nov. 6 and has won 10 of 12 and 11 of the last 15 meetings between the teams. The Bucks have lost 15 of 20 trips to Quicken Loans Arena. Irving has scored at least 26 points in six of his seven career games against Milwaukee.
12/20 10:26:37 ET