LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo exploded for 40 points but it was not enough to thwart the combined might of LeBron James and Kevin Love as the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Antetokounmpo’s superb display, which also included nine rebounds and three assists, threatened to overwhelm the Cavs as they aimed to bounce back from Sunday’s abject loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
But 30 points from James and 32 points from Love helped the Cavs hang on for a 124-119 victory at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
A high-scoring contest saw three over Cleveland players make double figures, with J.R. Smith posting 20 points and Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade grabbing 10 apiece.
Antetokounmpo meanwhile was backed by 22 points from Malcolm Brogdon and 20 from Khris Middleton.
Cleveland had seized the early initiative, jumping out to a 39-28 lead after the first quarter before the Bucks came roaring back to edge into a 67-65 lead at the half.
Cleveland muscled their way back into the game in the third quarter however to take a four-point lead at 94-90 heading into the final quarter.
The Cavs, desperate for a win after a sluggish start to the season that has seen them plunge to the bottom half of the Eastern Conference table, held on to claim a morale-boosting victory which improved them to 5-6.
The Bucks fell to 4-6 with the loss.