Published December 14, 2012
| Sports Network
Cleveland, OH – Monta Ellis scored 20 of his season-high 33 points in the second half, as the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 90-86, for their fourth straight victory.
Brandon Jennings, who beat the Cavaliers on Nov. 3 with a buzzer-beating 3- pointer, shot just 5-of-20 from the field for 16 points, but had eight assists and three of Milwaukee's 16 steals.
The Bucks also blocked seven shots and forced 27 turnovers in beating their Central Division rivals for the ninth straight time.
Kyrie Irving paced Cleveland with 26 points, while C.J. Miles added 17 in the setback.
The Cavs erased a 16-point, first-half deficit, but couldn't make enough plays down the stretch in losing for the seventh time in the past eight games.
"It's pretty simple. When you come out with the lack of energy and lack of effort that we came out with, and you commit 27 turnovers, you're not going to win a whole lot of games," Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott said.
A Jennings finger-roll had the Bucks on top, 78-67, early in the fourth, and Cleveland scored 11 of the next 13 points to close the gap to 80-78 on Miles' 3-pointer with 5:26 to play.
Ellis gave the visitors some breathing room with a runner and two free throws, and it stayed a two-possession game the rest of the way.
The Bucks came away with three big offensive rebounds in the final two minutes to kill most of the clock and made enough free throws to seal the road win.
The Cavs shot 24 percent (5-of-21) from the field in the first quarter, then missed nine of their first 11 shots the next stanza. The Bucks took advantage and led, 39-23, following Jennings' open 3-pointer midway through second.
Cleveland suddenly caught fire from the perimeter late in the half, hitting four from behind the arc in a five-possession span to pull within single digits. Irving drained two deep makes during a 16-5 run that lasted less than two minutes and cut the deficit to 46-41.
Milwaukee still led at the break, 52-43, but an Irving-led 14-4 run to start the third put Cleveland in front for the first time.
The lead didn't last long, however, as the Bucks answered with a 14-2 flurry -- nine coming from Ellis -- to regain control. The Cavs scored the final six in the frame, but still trailed, 72-67.
"They came back a couple of times, but (Ellis) had the hot hand and kept us in it offensively. He had it going," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said.
Anderson Varejao pulled down a game-high 18 rebounds for the Cavs, who play a road game Saturday against the Knicks ... Larry Sanders posted 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Bucks ... Ellis and Irving both committed six turnovers ... Milwaukee hosts the Clippers on Saturday.