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Jennings leads the way as Bucks rout Cavaliers; Irving hurt

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Associated Press
3/30/2012 10:25:01 PM
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CLEVELAND -- The news was all good for the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, got nothing but bad news.

Brandon Jennings scored 28 points and Milwaukee gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 121-84 rout over the Cavaliers.

The Bucks, who took control by scoring the first 16 points of the second quarter, moved within 1 1/2 games of New York for the final playoff spot in the East and beat the Cavaliers for the sixth straight time.

The night for the Cavaliers couldn't have gone much worse. Not only did Cleveland match a season high with its sixth loss, rookie guard Kyrie Irving didn't play in the fourth quarter because of a sprained right shoulder.

Irving, who scored 29 points, said he was injured in the second quarter while falling to the floor after fighting through a screen set by Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova. Irving played the entire third quarter, but sat out the final 12 minutes.

"There's a lot of pain in my shoulder right now," he said. "I'm taking a lot of Advil and anti-inflammatories and just trying to get through it."

Irving, the No. 1 pick in the draft, said no X-rays were taken Friday and he planned on joining the team on its flight to New York, where the Cavaliers play the Knicks on Saturday night.

"I'm really not trying to miss any more games especially winding down the season," he said when asked if he would play Saturday. "It all depends on how I feel in the morning."

Irving, who was 11 for 20 from the field, including 6 for 6 on 3-pointers, separated the shoulder during his sophomore year in high school.

"I've had problems with it before (but) it's totally different," he said. "It's not as bad as a separated shoulder. I'll tell you that."

The Cavaliers have lost nine of 10 at home. Their latest performance may have best been summed up by owner Dan Gilbert, who tweeted following the loss, "One of those nights where I can't find the words to match the emotions (at least non-profane words). Cavs fans deserve better. Much better."

A few feet down the hall, the Bucks were in a much better frame of mind.

"It looked like we had fresh legs and played with a lot of energy," coach Scott Skiles said. "A lot of times when you have energy, you put the ball in much easier."

The Bucks shot 57 per cent for the game and hit eight straight 3-pointers in the first half after missing their first attempt from behind the arc.

"It was like we couldn't hit the rim at times," Skiles said. "(The ball) went right through."

Ilyasova, who missed Tuesday's game because of back spasms, scored 20 points while Mike Dunleavy added 16 and shot 4 for 5 on 3-pointers. Jennings and Ilyasova didn't play in the fourth quarter.

"We hit a bunch of shots and that can be really deflating," Dunleavy said. "We've all been there before."

Milwaukee, off the previous two days after playing five games in six nights, looked like a rested team.

Cleveland led 10-8 before Milwaukee scored eight straight points. The Bucks, who led 35-26 after one quarter, began the second with their 16-0 run. Dunleavy and Jennings combined to score the Bucks' first 18 points of the quarter. Dunleavy, who hit three 3s, had 11 points during the run.

Milwaukee scored 71 points, its highest total in a half this season, and shot 61.4 in the first two quarters. Jennings finished the half with 21 points while Ilyasova and Dunleavy scored 18 and 14, respectively.

Irving scored 21 points in the first half. Alonzo Gee added 19 for Cleveland while rookie Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

"After a loss like this, I would hope the guys are real upset with how we played," Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. "The only way you can do it is come back and play a lot harder. You've got to take it out on somebody. You can't take it out on your teammates. You've got to take it out on another team."

NOTES: Milwaukee F Carlos Delfino (right groin strain) missed his second straight game and didn't make the trip to Cleveland. Skiles doesn't know if Delfino will play Saturday at New York. Luc Mbah a Moute started at small forward. ... Friday began a stretch of three games in fourth nights for the Bucks, who host Memphis on Saturday. ... Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) participated in shooting drills Friday, but there's still no timetable for his return. Scott said Varejao, who hasn't played since Feb. 10, is wearing a brace on his wrist. ... Cleveland signed G Lester Hudson to a 10-day contract. He had been playing with Austin of the NBA's Development League. The Cavaliers are short in the backcourt following an injury to Daniel Gibson, who has a torn tendon in his foot and will likely miss the rest of the season.

Brandon Jennings (Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)
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