CLEVELAND – Kevin Love scored 25 points, Cedi Osman added 23 and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks 115-99 on Wednesday night.
The Cavs made 19 3-pointers, won for the eighth time in nine games and leap-frogged Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference standings — a turnaround from last season when Cleveland went 22-50. Darius Garland scored 19 and rookie Evan Mobley had 16 for the Cavs.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points after missing a game with knee soreness, but had seven of Milwaukee's 19 turnovers that led to 31 points for Cleveland. Bobby Portis added 22 points and Khris Middleton 21 for the Bucks, who had their winning streak stopped at three.
Milwaukee has lost a season-high four straight on the road, and the trouble really started in the third period.
Cleveland was up by eight at halftime, then opened the third with an 11-2 run that included three 3-pointers in a 48-second span by Garland, Mobley and Dean Wade.
The Cavs pushed their lead to 93-72 later in the third, when Garland went out briefly with back tightness. The young point guard seemed to land awkwardly after making a reverse layup and went to the locker room for treatment before returning.
Before the game, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff figured 3-pointers would be the key because of Milwaukee's preference to shoot them — and give them up.
After the Bucks made six 3s in the first quarter, the Cavs did them one better with seven in the second to take a 65-57 lead at the half.
While the outside shooting was impressive, Mobley had the most memorable bucket in the half when Garland slipped him a pass on the baseline and Cleveland's big man dunked over Antetokounmpo.
Bucks: Milwaukee started 6 of 7 on 3-pointers but finished just 9 of 32. ... G Wesley Matthews (bruised left knee) missed the game. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Matthews stayed in Milwaukee for treatment. He could return for Friday's game or “shortly after.” ... Budenholzer said he sees the Cavs' confidence growing. “They have a belief,” he said. “You can see it and you can feel it.”
Cavaliers: G Rajon Rondo became the 14th player to reach 7,500 career assists. ... Garland, Isaac Okoro and backup guard Kevin Pangos all share the same Jan. 26 birthday. At shootaround, the team made Mobley sing happy birthday to the trio. “He’s got pretty decent vocals,” Wade said. “I’d like to hear him maybe a touch louder.” ... Lauri Markkanen (ankle) missed his second straight game and is expected to sit out several weeks.
Bucks guard Grayson Allen served the one-game league suspension he received for his flagrant-2 foul against Chicago's Alex Caruso, who suffered a fractured right wrist and could miss two months.
Allen traveled with the team and participated in the morning shootaround.
Bucks: Begin a three-game homestand Friday against New York.
Cavaliers: Visit Detroit on Sunday.