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Whole lot of Love halts Cavs' skid

Updated: 2017-11-09 09:29

Whole lot of Love halts Cavs' skid

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks' Malcolm Brogdon in the first half of Tuesday's game in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 124-119. [Photo/Agencies]

CLEVELAND-Kevin Love scored a season-high 32 points, LeBron James added 30 and the Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a 40-point performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-119 on Tuesday night.

The Cavs have been one of the NBA's biggest surprises this season-for all the wrong reasons. But after losing five of six, they did enough to hand the Bucks their fourth straight loss and keep Cleveland fans from panicking.

Love, who was briefly hospitalized after scoring just four points in a surprising loss to Atlanta on Sunday, also had 16 rebounds. JR Smith found his shooting stroke and added a season-high 20 points for the Cavs.

Still a few weeks shy of his 23rd birthday, the multi-talented Antetokounmpo finished 16 of 21 from the floor. He also had nine rebounds and eight turnovers before fouling out with 18 seconds left.

Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points and Khris Middleton finished with 20 for the Bucks.

Milwaukee got some scoring help before the game by acquiring guard Eric Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward/center Greg Monroe and two draft picks.

Cleveland's start to the season has been puzzling on so many levels. Loaded with as much talent as any team in the league, the Eastern Conference champions have been beating good teams and losing to squads they should be handling.

The issues have led to the usual scrutiny of James, who caused a stir on social media Monday night.

Moments after former teammate Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics beat the Hawks for their ninth straight win, James posted a meme on his Instagram account of the kids' cartoon character Arthur clenching a fist with the caption "mood."

It's unclear what message James meant to convey, but Love and Smith helped him feel better about the state of the Cavs.

Bucks coach Jason Kidd said Cleveland's rough start might be overblown.

"Everybody thinks they're struggling," he said.

"But I think it's just a matter of time before they get going. There's a lot of veterans over there, and they understand how to run a marathon."

Plagued by slow starts through their first 10 games, the Cavs came out with better intensity and focus.

Cleveland shot 69 percent from the floor (11 of 16) and made 14 of 15 free throws in the first quarter while opening an 11-point lead.

It was a much better showing from the Cavs' starters, who were criticized by Dwyane Wade after Sunday's loss to the Hawks.

AP

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