Cavaliers-Bucks Preview

The Associated Press

Larry Drew is pondering another change to what has been an anemic starting lineup for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Without an adjustment, that unit could continue to struggle offensively Wednesday night against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, whose defense has been outstanding.

The Bucks (1-2) lost 97-90 to Toronto on Saturday in their home opener, their already ineffective starting five further hamstrung by O.J. Mayo being benched to start the game. The guard scored a game-high 16 after arriving late for shootaround.

He hit a tying 3-pointer with 5:53 remaining, but Milwaukee followed that by going 1 for 6 from the free-throw line over a four-minute stretch.

"I really felt if we just hung around hopefully we could probably try to steal it, but we just didn't make the plays down the stretch," Drew said.

Drew has utilized a different starting lineup for each game. He's been without Brandon Knight due to a hamstring injury for the last two, and Knight's status for Wednesday is uncertain.

More changes could be on the way Wednesday, as Milwaukee's starters rank last in the league with 37.7 points per game. The team's reserves have averaged 55.0 points and 51.2 percent shooting, among the best in the NBA.

"I'm concerned about our energy, our speed, our activity with that first group," Drew said. "I've got to re-assess that."

The Cavaliers (2-2) are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league at 87.3 points per game, but they've held each opponent to fewer than 95 points.

Cleveland limited Minnesota to fewer than 100 for the first time this season in handing the club its first defeat, 93-92 on Monday. The Cavaliers recorded a season-high 12 blocks along with 10 steals while limiting Kevin Love to 17 points - more than 12 below his average - and 8-of-20 shooting.

The stingy defensive effort - Minnesota shot 36.2 percent - helped compensate for a rough night for Kyrie Irving, who committed a career-high nine turnovers.

"Luckily, K-Love missed a shot and we got the stop," Irving said of Love's missed 3-point attempt with 1.9 seconds remaining.

Irving has been unimpressive thus far, averaging 15.3 points - 8.2 fewer than last year - and 36.9 percent from the field. Perhaps he can establish a rhythm Wednesday, as he's averaging 26.7 points and 55.7 percent shooting in six career matchups with Milwaukee.

Some production from top draft pick Anthony Bennett could help take some pressure off Irving. Bennett was 0 for 3 from the field against the Timberwolves and is 0 for 15 on the season.

Milwaukee will try to shore up its rebounding after surrendering 21 second-chance points on 18 Toronto offensive boards.

The Bucks had won nine straight in the series before dropping the final two meetings last season.

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