LeBron James is on a roll and looks to record his fifth triple-double in the past six games when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. James is averaging 25.8 points, 13.4 assists and 11 rebounds during a five-game winning streak that is part of 18 victories in the past 19 games for the Cavaliers.
James wasn’t all that impressed with career triple-double No. 61 on Sunday because he was just 8-of-23 shooting while contributing 20 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds during a 106-99 road victory over the Washington Wizards. “I actually played pretty bad. I wasn’t strong with the ball, I had six turnovers; kinda lazy with the ball at times,” James said afterward. “My teammates did a great job of bailing me out.” Milwaukee is looking to break a three-game losing streak and gave the NBA-best Houston Rockets a fight before succumbing 115-111 on Saturday. “I’m happy with the effort,” Bucks swingman Khris Middleton told reporters. “We gave it our all and we took them to the wire. It just came down to a couple stops again late in the game that somehow we’ve just got to find a way to get back to that like we were in the beginning of the season.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Ohio (Cleveland), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (23-8): Cleveland has reached 100 points in 24 consecutive games and has knocked down at least 10 3-pointers in 20 consecutive contests. James won the most recent of his four MVP awards after the 2012-13 season but is making an early case for the honor with his season averages of 27.8 points, 9.3 assists and 8.5 rebounds. “Team success is always the number one, but along the way if you’re able to accomplish some individual awards, individual achievements, it would mean a lot,” James told reporters of a fifth MVP award. “I feel good. This is my 15th year, but this is one of the best years I’ve had as far as how I feel and I want to continue that.”
ABOUT THE BUCKS (15-13): All-Star small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 37 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games versus Cleveland this season but Milwaukee lost both contests. Antetokounmpo has scored 25 or more points in eight straight games, ranks second in the NBA with a 29.8 scoring average and he is a big reason why the Bucks have scored 100 or more in each of the past 12 games, the franchise’s best streak since also hitting the mark a dozen times during the 1990-91 campaign. Middleton is also thriving with a 20.3 average and has tallied 20 or more points in seven of the past nine games.
1. The Cavaliers have won the past five meetings.
2. Cleveland C Kevin Love had 32 points and 16 rebounds — the latter ties for his season best — in a 124-119 victory over the Bucks on Nov. 7 and is averaging 24.5 points and 14 rebounds in this season’s two meetings.
3. Milwaukee G Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points off the bench against Houston for his fourth 20-point effort of the campaign.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 116, Bucks 109