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Bucks: Kevin Love, LeBron James lead Cleveland past Milwaukee

November 8, 2017 GMT

CLEVELAND — Eric Bledsoe’s disgruntled days are over.

The guard is getting a fresh start with the Milwaukee Bucks, who have another proven scorer to take some pressure off All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Bledsoe, who wanted out of Phoenix, was traded to the Bucks on Tuesday in exchange for big man Greg Monroe and two 2018 draft picks.

Milwaukee could have used Bledsoe on Tuesday night, when they lost 124-119 to the Cleveland Cavaliers for their fourth consecutive defeat.

Kevin Love scored a season-high 32 points without attempting a 3-pointer, LeBron James added 30 points, and Cleveland withstood a 40-point performance by Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo also had nine rebounds and eight turnovers before fouling out with 18 seconds left.

Malcolm Brogdon had 22 points for Milwaukee, and Khris Middleton finished with 20.

Bledsoe will be asked to take some of the pressure off Antetokounmpo, the league’s leading scorer.

“He’s a great player,” Antetokounmpo said. “He’s going help the team. He’s going to make the game easier for everyone.”

The 27-year-old Bledsoe had not been with the Suns since Oct. 22, when he posted “I Don’t wanna be here” on Twitter, the same day the Suns fired coach Earl Watson. He had been averaging 15.7 points per game, second behind Devin Booker, and was the team’s on-court leader.

Bledsoe had asked to be traded before the season, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has said.

Adding Bledsoe will take some of the focus off Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ primary ball-handler.

“We’re excited. Eric’s excited,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.

Bledsoe will take his physical today and is expected to join the Bucks in San Antonio in time for Thursday’s game against the Spurs.

Middleton can’t wait to see what Bledsoe brings to the mix.

“He’ll be another great player for us, a guy who can create for others and create for himself on offense,” Middleton said. “I’m excited to play with him. We can do a lot of things. We’ll have more ball-handlers on the court at the same time. He’s going to be a great for us.”

Already a dangerous and up-and-coming team, the Bucks could go to another level with Bledsoe.

“He adds a veteran point guard, a guy who plays with pace and can get into the paint, can make the right play,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

“He’s been on the cusp of being an All-Star the last three years. He brings a different dimension to their team. He can shoot the basketball, get in the paint, run pick-and-roll and he’s a good defender, also.”

Bledsoe averaged more than 20 points and six assists per game in each of the past two seasons with the Suns, including career highs in points (21.1) and assists (6.3) last season. Bledsoe spent his first five seasons in Phoenix after his first three years with the Clippers.

Milwaukee’s first-round pick will belong to the Suns in 2018 if in the range of 11-16 overall; in 2019 if in the range of 4-16; in 2020 if in the range of 8-30; and in 2021 it will be unprotected.

The Suns get Milwaukee’s second-round pick next year if in the range of 48-60 overall.

Milwaukee 28 39 23 29 — 119

Cleveland 39 26 29 30 — 124

MILWAUKEE — Middleton 8-17 2-2 20, Antetokounmpo 16-21 8-11 40, Henson 3-4 1-2 7, Brogdon 9-17 0-0 22, Snell 3-3 0-0 8, Maker 2-5 0-0 5, Teletovic 6-11 0-0 16, Dellavedova 0-3 1-1 1, Terry 0-1 0-0 0, Liggins 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 47-83 12-16 119.

CLEVELAND — James 10-20 8-10 30, Crowder 1-5 2-2 5, Love 9-14 14-16 32, Rose 4-10 2-2 10, Smith 7-12 1-2 20, Green 1-5 2-2 4, Wade 4-8 2-2 10, Korver 2-5 2-2 7, Shumpert 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 41-82 33-38 124.

3-point goals — M 13-30 (Brogdon 4-6, Teletovic 4-8, Snell 2-2, Middleton 2-7, Maker 1-4, Terry 0-1, Dellavedova 0-2), C 9-18 (Smith 5-7, James 2-4, Crowder 1-2, Korver 1-4, Rose 0-1). Fouled out — Antetokounmpo. Rebounds — M 36 (Antetokounmpo 9), C 39 (Love 16). Assists — M 29 (Middleton 11), C 18 (James 9). Total fouls — M 31, C 16. Technicals — Henson, C defensive 3 second. Att. — 20,562.