Giannis Antetokounmpo has the Milwaukee Bucks hoping to join the elite of the Eastern Conference, but they are not quite there yet as the Cleveland Cavaliers proved on Friday.
LeBron James reminded them of that with 24 points to lead the Cavs to a 116-97 victory in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo was the most exciting, and possibly best, player on the court, but there was no doubt who was the better team as Cleveland systematically controlled the game with James and the three-point shooting of Kyle Korver.
Korver went six-of-eight from the floor, but five-of-six from beyond the arc, to finish with 17 points. The Cavaliers had six players finish in double figures.
In the meantime, Cleveland allowed the Bucks to have just two players score in double figures as Antetokounmpo had 34 points – to go with eight rebounds and eight assists – and Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points.
“We executed the defensive plan that our coaches gave us,” James said following the game. “The results were us getting a big win on the road.”
As for the Golden State Warriors, the defending champions got down big early to the New Orleans Pelicans. They trailed 21-6 in the first quarter, but they figured some things out and came back for a 128-120 victory to get their first win of the season.
Klay Thompson led the way with 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting, including a seven-of-12 night from beyond the arc.
VUCEVIC SHINES FOR ORLANDO
Orlando center Nikola Vucevic scored 44 points on 17-of-22 shooting and added 12 rebounds and three assists in the Magic’s 126-121 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. He joined Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady as the only Magic players ever with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.
Washington’s Otto Porter Jr. had a game-high 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting in the Wizards’ 115-111 win over the Detroit Pistons. He added nine rebounds, four steals and three assists while also going two-for-four from three-point range.
Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams went 0-for-six from the floor and missed all four three-point attempts to finish with zero points. He did have three rebounds and an assist in Charlotte’s 109-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
New Pacers guard Victor Oladipo went way up for the alley-oop from Darren Collison in Indiana’s 114-96 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Charlotte Hornets 109-91 Atlanta Hawks
Portland Trail Blazers 114-96 Indiana Pacers
Cleveland Cavaliers 116-97 Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics 102-92 Philadelphia 76ers
Washington Wizards 115-111 Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 126-121 Orlando Magic
Minnesota Timberwolves 100-97 Utah Jazz
Sacramento Kings 93-88 Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors 128-120 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers 132-130 Phoenix Suns
PORTLAND AT MILWAUKEE
The Blazers get their first true test of the season as they take on Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on the road. The Trail Blazers have two big wins over the Suns and the Pacers, but the Bucks are a different animal.