MILWAUKEE (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo tied a career high with 34 points and the Milwaukee Bucks stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-101 on Tuesday night.
Milwaukee led by 22 points in the fourth quarter and cruised past the defending champions, who benched their starters midway through the final period.
The Bucks outscored Cleveland by 14 points in the third quarter.
Cleveland rode hot early shooting to a 14-point first quarter lead, but Milwaukee closed on a 10-0 run and trailed by only two at the end of the period.
The hot hands of Antetokounmpo and Beasley sparked Milwaukee in the second quarter as the Bucks built an advantage of eight points before leading 58-54 at the half.
FRIENDLY TO A FAULT
The Bucks took advantage of J.R. Smith‘s affable nature for an easy dunk.
Right before an inbound play, Milwaukee’s Jason Terry stood up off the bench to say hello to Smith, sharing a handshake and hug along the baseline. Smith was supposed to be covering Tony Snell, but with Smith mingling, Snell cut to the basket, received the inbound pass and dunked with nobody around.
Cavaliers: Channing Frye missed his second straight game following the death of his father on Nov. 24. He is expected to rejoin the team by Thursday. … Iman Shumpert (left hamstring strain) returned to the lineup after a one-game absence. … Cleveland’s bench totaled just five first-half points.
Bucks: Beasley, who entered averaging just more than eight points per game, scored 11 first-half points, connecting on 5 of 6 shots. … Milwaukee shot 57 percent in the first half.
Cavaliers: Host Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. Coach Tyronn Lue was an assistant under Clippers coach Doc Rivers in Boston and Los Angeles.
Bucks: At Brooklyn on Thursday night. Milwaukee has won 12 of its last 16 meetings with the Nets, dating to Jan. 9, 2009, including a 110-108 win in Milwaukee on Oct. 29.