Cavs eye Central crown in trip to Milwaukee

( - The Cleveland Cavaliers can wrap up the Central Division title on Wednesday night when they stop by the Bradley Center for a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks.

A Cleveland victory or a loss by the Chicago Bulls, who visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, would give the Cavaliers their first Central crown since the 2009-10 campaign, which was LeBron James' final season before bolting to Miami.

He is back and the Cavs could sew up not only the division, but the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

On Sunday, the Cavaliers won a pivotal matchup with the Bulls, 99-94, at Quicken Loans Arena. It was Cleveland's third consecutive victory, seventh in the last eight and 11th in the previous 13.

J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving kept hitting buzzer-beaters, LeBron James posted his first tripe-double of the season and the Cavaliers prevailed. James filled the stat sheet with 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as the Cavs, winners of 18 straight at home, pulled four games ahead of the second-place Bulls with five to play.

Smith made half of Cleveland's 16 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, while Irving added 27 points, including a miraculous shot during a pivotal run in the third quarter.

Among Cleveland's 10 3-pointers in the first half were impressive buzzer- beaters by Irving and Smith, whose 35 combined points carried the hosts to a 54-45 lead entering the break.

Irving ended the opening frame with a 3 from the corner despite two defenders being draped all over him, and Smith capped the half with a runner from halfcourt while falling out-of-bounds.

Those baskets somehow paled in comparison to a prayer Irving threw up late in the third quarter. The star guard, at first unaware of the shot clock nearing zero, launched one from beyond halfcourt -- estimated at 52 feet -- and hit nothing but net.

"I've never seen three (shots) like that in one game," Cavs head coach David Blatt said. "That's the great thing about this game. Every day you wake up, something new can happen and it did today."

The Bucks had a two-game winning streak snapped on Saturday thanks to a 97-90 home loss to the Orlando Magic.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 18 points with eight rebounds and Khris Middleton gave 15 points for the Bucks, who remain in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

"This was a tough loss," said Middleton. "We have to win these home games we have left if we want to make the playoffs."

Orlando trailed by four after Giannis Antetokounmpo put in a free throw with 3 1/2 minutes to play, but Aaron Gordon followed with a layup and Victor Oladipo tied the game with a jumper.

After Zaza Pachulia missed a short jumper, Tobias Harris nailed a 3-pointer to give the Magic the lead.

Michael Carter-Williams then hit a jumper to cut Milwaukee's deficit to one, but Oladipo countered with another 3-pointer and later hit a jumper inside a minute to play for a six-point lead that held up.

The Bucks led the Brooklyn Nets by two games for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs won two of three this season against their Central Division rivals. The Bucks are 8-2 in their last 10 as the host in the series.