Williams scored 29 points and had 13 of Milwaukee’s 26 assists, and the Bucks snapped a six-game losing streak with a 108-98 victory over the Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Williams had four points and six assists in the first quarter, 12 points and five assists in the third, and 11 points and one assist in the fourth to lead the Bucks past the Cavaliers for the third time in the four-game season series.
“We got our behinds kicked,” Brown said after his team gave up 100 points or more for the sixth straight road game. “I’m glad we don’t play those guys 82 times because Mo Williams may be the all-time greatest player ever, if we did.”
Williams was 10-of-12 from the free throw line and had one turnover.
“He’s an excellent player, but against us he has more than our number,” Brown said.
Nobody on Cleveland could stop or keep up with Williams as he raced up and down the court. Brown even faulted himself for not finding a way to slow him down.
“It started with me,” Brown said. “I was at a loss on how to stop him.”
“I give Milwaukee credit,” James said. “They dominated us all year.”
Michael Redd, who finished with 21 points, and Williams sparked a stretch that bridged the third and fourth quarters and gave Milwaukee a 90-76 lead with 8:24 left to play. Williams had seven points and a jumper that gave the Bucks a 14-point cushion. Redd opened the fourth with three straight jumpers.
Williams came in averaging 25 points the first three times the teams met this season.
“He’s played pretty well against us all year,” James said.
Williams said he would like to see that kind of production more consistently against every opponent.
“I don’t think it had to do with who it was or who I was playing against,” Williams said. “I just got it going, got to the spots I wanted to get to.”
Damon Jones made two free throws to pull Cleveland to 97-91 with 1:42 to go, but Desmond Mason sank a 14-footer to put Milwaukee ahead by eight. James hit a 3-pointer with 56 seconds to play that cut the lead to five, the closest the Cavs got before Redd sank two free throws and Williams made two to push the lead back to 107-98 with 25 seconds left.
While Cleveland has won nine straight at home, they have lost seven of the last eight on the road, including five in a row.
The poor showing away from home has Brown concerned.
“I’m worried,” he said. “If we expect to be a very good playoff team, we’ve got to know how to win on the road.”
The Bucks also snapped a five-game losing streak at home and won the season series 3-1. It was their first series victory over the Cavaliers since a 4-0 sweep during the 2002-03 season—the one before James arrived.
Andrew Bogut scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Bucks in his first game back at center after missing the last two games with a thigh injury.
It was the Bucks’ first game since general manager Larry Harris’ contract was not renewed on Wednesday. The Bucks made the playoffs twice since Harris took over in July 2003, but finished last in the Central for three straight seasons. They are currently in the cellar with 14 games to go in the regular season. Since the All-Star break, the Bucks have won just five times in 15 games.
“It felt good to win again,” Redd said.
Williams, who had 12 points and five assists in the quarter, started a 9-2 run with a layup and Bogut finished it with a dunk as Milwaukee ended the third with a 78-67 lead.
Cleveland’s Ben Wallace did not play due to back spasms. He left Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors in the third quarter and didn’t return. He missed a game March 12 with the same problem. … Before the game, Brown was asked what it was like coaching James. “We work together,” Brown said. “He’s not my boss. I’m not his boss.” … Bucks G Charlie Bell had to be helped to the locker room in the fourth. As James drove the lane, Bogut was knocked backward and landed on Bell, who left with a right knee sprain.