The only thing that stands in the way of the Cleveland Cavaliers finishing with the NBA’s worst record is matchups against three other lottery-bound teams.
After winning two in a row, Cleveland fell 93-82 to Chicago on Friday to drop into a tie with Minnesota for the league’s worst record.
J.J.Hickson finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Baron Davis(notes) had 10 points and six assists. The Cavaliers (17-52) pulled within three midway through the third quarter, but the Eastern Conference champions scored 10 straight points and ended the period on an 18-6 run.
Cleveland had 16 turnovers, leading to 16 points for Chicago.
“We did not help ourselves,” coach Byron Scott said. “They are a very good team, but we didn’t do a very good job of taking care of the ball.”
While the Cavaliers’ difficult first season in the post-LeBron James(notes) era is winding down, Hickson continues to play hard. He has averaged 21.6 points and 11.6 rebounds over the last seven games.
It might be difficult for Hickson to keep up that pace. He’s scored eight points on a combined 4-of-18 shooting against the Bucks this season.
While finishing with the NBA’s worst record would increase their chances of getting the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, the Cavaliers have said they want to finish the season strong and they have a good opportunity to do so. After facing the Bucks, Cleveland will play Detroit and Washington.
The Cavaliers, though, have lost two of three to Milwaukee (32-47), including a 110-90 defeat on March 9 at the Bradley Center.
After being eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week, Milwaukee fell for the fifth time in eight games with a 110-100 road loss to the Pistons on Friday. The Bucks had allowed 91.3 in the previous 12 contests.
“Our defense wasn’t as good as a team tonight,” said Brandon Jennings(notes), who scored 31 points. “We kind of let them get easy buckets and we really weren’t rotating like we usually do and they were able to counter it.”
Earlier in the day, Milwaukee announced Bogut will miss the rest of the season to undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove loose particles and scar tissue in his elbow.
Bogut injured the elbow, along with his right hand and wrist, in an arm-wrenching fall to the floor toward the end of last season. He averaged 12.8 points, a career-high 11.1 rebounds and league-leading 2.6 blocks this season.
The Bucks are 4-10 without Bogut this year.