CLEVELAND (AP) — Evan Mobley scored a career-high 38 points, Darius Garland added 21 and the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from an embarrassing loss with a 114-102 win Saturday night over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were again without injured star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Mobley made sure the Cavs shook off their 120-114 loss a night earlier to the Golden State Warriors, who beat Cleveland despite resting Stephen Curry and three other starters.
The 21-year-old Mobley finished 19 of 27 from the field and had his top scoring performance as a pro without making a three throw or 3-pointer. He added nine rebounds.
Mobley scored 12 of Cleveland’s first 15 points in the fourth and the Cavs, who were without star Donovan Mitchell due to a groin strain for the third straight game, put together a 12-2 run to separate from the Bucks.
Garland added 10 assists for Cleveland.
Drue Holiday scored 28 and Bobby Portis Jr. added 23 for Milwaukee, which played its fifth straight game without Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP is nursing a sore left knee.
On Friday, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff was asked about Mobley’s tantalizing potential.
“There’s a version of Evan that is going to be dominant,” he said.
The Cavs have been urging Mobley to be more aggressive and he didn’t back down from the Bucks as the 7-footer powered his way to the basket and dropped several mid-range jumpers in the lane.
BUCKS STOP HERE
The injuries to Antetokounmpo and three-time All-Star forward Khris Middleton, who hasn’t played since Dec. 15 due to a sore right knee, have prevented the Bucks from developing continuity.
Still, they’ve stayed among the East’s top teams.
Coach Mike Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo hasn’t sustained a setback. The 28-year-old has been able to participate in 5-on-5 workouts the past few days and his availability is literally on a daily basis.
Budenholzer stressed the decision for him to sit is a collaborative effort, but that ultimately it comes down to Antetokounmpo whether he’s ready to play.