Bucks 101, Cavaliers 95
The big attraction for the sellout crowd of 18,717 was the first visit to Milwaukee by Cleveland rookie LeBron James, who missed three straight free throws in the final minute to scuttle what might have been a close finish.
With the Cavaliers trailing 96-91 with 41 seconds left, James was fouled by Joe Smith while shooting a 3-pointer.
James, who was just 7-of-25 from the floor and turned the ball over five times, missed the first shot and the crowd got loud. He missed again and the fans got even louder. When he missed his third, the place was rocking.
James finished with 20 points, and Carlos Boozer added 19.
Redd led six Bucks in double figures as Milwaukee won for the 14th time in its last 15 home games. Milwaukee improved to 19-5 at home, best in the Eastern Conference.
Karl, fired last summer, worked the ESPN telecast in his first trip back to the Bradley Center. He said he wasn’t surprised by the team’s instant success under his successor, rookie coach Terry Porter.
“I’m happy for them and I have no animosity toward them,” Karl said of the Bucks, who are paying him $7 million not to be their coach this season.
Redd’s remarkable reverse layup at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter gave Milwaukee a 68-61 lead and followed an errant 3-pointer by James.
The Bucks built their lead to 12 and were up 79-68 before Cleveland went on a 9-0 run sparked by seven straight points by Carlos Boozer to pull to 79-77. Milwaukee took an 81-77 lead into the fourth quarter and never trailed after that.
James got off to a rough start, missing his first four shots and turning the ball over before hitting a runner with 4:41 left in the first quarter.
But his poor start was just a taste of things to come.
The Bucks were so upset that point guard T.J. Ford was omitted from the rookie game at All-Star weekend that they called the NBA asking for an explanation. “We haven’t heard back from the league office and I don’t expect to hear back anytime soon,” Porter said. … X-rays and an MRI on Desmond Mason’s left wrist were negative. Mason was hurt when he fell hard Wednesdaynight in New Orleans.