Cavaliers-Bucks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 03, 2012
It's been nearly three years since the Milwaukee Bucks lost at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it's been much longer since they opened a season with back-to-back victories. Brandon Jennings will try to help the Bucks to their best start in seven seasons Saturday night when they attempt to re-establish their dominance of the Cavaliers in their home opener. Milwaukee (1-0) is averaging 110.9 points while winning seven in a row against Cleveland (1-1) for its longest winning streak in the series since an eight-game run from 1985-1987. The Bucks have also won five straight over the Cavaliers at home, dating to a loss Dec. 6, 2009. They're looking to extend those winning streaks after opening their season Friday with an impressive 99-88 victory at Boston. Milwaukee hasn't started 2-0 since winning its first three games in 2005-06. "We missed the playoffs two years in a row, so it started from (Friday)," said Jennings, who connected on 9 of 17 field goals to finish with 21 points along with 13 assists and six steals. He could be primed for another strong performance against the Cavs considering he averaged 22.0 points on 50.7 percent shooting over four meetings last season. Ersan Ilyasova, who had 11 rebounds Friday, scored 20.0 points per game on 66.7 percent shooting (24 of 36) in his last three matchups with Cleveland, averaging 8.0 rebounds in that stretch. Milwaukee's Tobias Harris is looking to build on an impressive start to the season, totaling 18 points and six rebounds against the Celtics after averaging 5.0 and 2.4, respectively, in 42 games as a rookie in 2011-12. The Cavaliers are opening a six-game, 11-day road trip after going 10-23 as the visitor last season. They failed to enter that stretch with some momentum, falling 115-86 to Chicago on Friday while allowing the Bulls to shoot 63.8 percent from the field. "That's what you call a good, old-fashioned butt-whipping," coach Byron Scott said. "As a young team, we still have a lot to learn. As I told the players, you've got to come ready to play, especially against good teams." Cleveland did that in its season opener, winning 94-84 over Washington on Tuesday behind 29 points from Kyrie Irving. The second-year point guard, however, followed that up with 6-of-15 shooting for a team-high 15 points against the Bulls. Irving may be in for a bounce-back performance since he has totaled 57 points in two meetings with the Bucks, scoring 28 in a 115-105 loss at Milwaukee on March 14. He missed the Cavs' 107-98 defeat there April 4. Various injuries have forced Anderson Varejao to miss six of the last seven meetings with the Bucks. The center is healthy now, and he scored 12 points with five rebounds Friday. He was much better in the season opener, getting nine points while setting career highs of 23 boards and nine assists. The Cavaliers' cross-country trip also includes games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Brooklyn.
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