Report: Bucks remain on the “fringes” of Kyrie trade

If the Boston-Cleveland trade falls through for Kyrie Irving, the Bucks are one of several teams who still might have a shot at the All-Star.

The trade hasn’t been completed due to the Cleveland Cavaliers questions over Isaiah Thomas and his hip injury. The Bucks were one of the handful of teams that would be vying for Irving according to a report by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The Bucks have previously offered Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, and veteran Khris Middleton.

That trade was weighed heavily by the Cavaliers before  agreeing to terms with the Boston Celtics. According to Lowe, he believes if the Bucks threw in a future first round pick, that would ultimately get the deal done.

The Bucks are reluctant to throw in a first round pick, because they don’t believe Irving would likely sign long-term. Irving, 25, is entering the prime of his career and has two years left on his current contract.

Other teams in the mix if the deal doesn’t go through are the Denver Nuggets and the  Phoenix Suns

Milwaukee comes up just short against Toronto in 106-100 loss

Kyle Lowry hit a tough jumper with 8.9 seconds left to help Toronto even up their best-of-seven series at one against Milwaukee with a 106-100 win on Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.

With Bucks guard Malcom Brogdon right in his face, the Raptors All-Star was able to get just enough separation and buried the shot, taking with it Milwaukee’s hopes of heading home up two games to none.

“If I would have missed it, I still would have been happy, because I got to my spot,” said Lowry, who finished with 22 points. “I was going to try to make it.”

Lowry’s dagger came after Milwaukee got two open looks at 3-pointers in the final two minutes and trailing by just two. But both Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova couldn’t get their shots to fall.

“It was in and out,” Brogdon said of his shot. “It was wide-open. I was hoping it would drop, but it didn’t. That’s what happens sometimes.”

Milwaukee trailed by as many as 12 in the final quarter, but continued to fight its way back into the game only to come up just short in the end.

“It would have been easy to let go of the rope,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We got down, but they kept playing. We had an opportunity there. We got some great looks. The ball goes halfway down and comes out. That’s just basketball. It can be nice or it can be cruel.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for Milwaukee with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Khris Middleton added 20 and Greg Monroe had 18 off the bench.

Toronto was paced by DeMar DeRozan’s 23 points.

The series now heads back to Milwaukee for the next two contests, with Game 3 taking place Thursday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Ugly first half dooms Milwaukee in a 110-98 loss to Denver

Playing with what coach Jason Kidd would later call a lack of urgency, the Milwaukee Bucks fell 110-98 to the Denver Nuggets last night, their third loss in the last four games.

“In our locker room right now we don’t understand the urgency…of what we’re fighting for, and that’s a playoff spot,” Kidd said. “We don’t have that many games left. Our energy and effort has to be high.”

It was anything but as the Nuggets outscored Milwaukee 32-15 in the first quarter and held a 26-point lead at the half. Denver pushed that lead to as much as 31 in the third quarter before the Bucks battled back, but they could get no closer than 12 down the stretch.

Khris Middleton led the way for Milwaukee with 21 points off the bench, while rookie Malcom Brogdon added 17 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic recorded his second straight triple-double with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.

The loss dropped Milwaukee two games back of Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Bucks (26-33) will host the Los Angeles Clippers (36-24) on Friday night.

Milwaukee snaps its five-game losing streak with a 127-114 win over Houston

The streak is over.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker combined for 59 points to help Milwaukee outgun Houston 127-114 to snap a five-game losing streak on Monday night.

The Bucks led nearly the entire way but had to fight in the fourth quarter to pay back the Rockets for a blowout loss last week on the road. Houston took a 95-93 lead with 10:15 left in the game, but after a Milwaukee timeout, rookie Malcom Brogdon’s two free throws tied the game up and later he assisted on Jason Terry’s 16-foot jumper to take a 101-99 lead — a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Milwaukee went 10 of 17 from the field in the fourth quarter, and for the game shot a season-high 58.8 percent. That included a very efficient 11 of 19 performance from Parker, who after coming off the bench against the Heat due to violating team policy, scored 28 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists.

Antetokounmpo was also good on the offensive end, scoring 31 points, his 10th game of 30 or more this season. He capped the game off with a deep 3-pointer, then did a shoulder shimmy reminiscent of the same one James Harden did toward the end of Houston’s victory over Milwaukee on Friday night.

Chants of M-V-P broke out inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center aimed at Antetokounmpo, and though that might be the case in the future, the real MVP candidate this season is Harden, and he did nothing to damage that, nearly producing a triple-double. Named an All-Star starter last week, Harden dropped 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

The game also served as a homecoming for former Wisconsin star Sam Dekker. The 2015 first-round pick, who was coming of a career-high 30 points his last time out, managed just four points on 2 of 7 shooting in his first trip back.

Milwaukee improved to 21-23 on the season and will host Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Bucks fall to the Cavaliers for a second straight night

For the second straight night, the Milwaukee Bucks fell to the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, this time 113-102.

Playing without forward Kevin Love and guard J.R. Smith, the Cavs turned to their main two stars to lead them to victory. LeBron James scored 29 points and had nine rebounds, while Kyrie Irving poured in 31 points and dished out 13 assists to help Cleveland sweep the home-and-home series with Milwaukee.

The Bucks big two — Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker — combined for 55 points, but the rest of the starting lineup added just seven points, while rookie Malcom Brogdon was the third-leading scorer, coming off the bench to chip in 11.

Though the playoffs are still quite far down the road — it’s only December of course — the two teams could see each other once April rolls around. If the postseason started today, Milwaukee would be the No. 8 seed and face the top-seeded Cavaliers.

Many wouldn’t think that would be an interesting series, but Cleveland has apparently set its sights on the Bucks after Milwaukee crushed them in their first meeting of the year.

“I hope, man. I hope,” Irving said after the game, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “They’re a great young team. It would be great to four games against them. I’m fired up to go against them every time now, for real. Ever since they kicked our ass in Milwaukee, it’s been personal, and it’s going to continue to be personal.”