Ersan and Bucks down Cavaliers, gain ground in playoff chase

Ersan and Bucks down Cavaliers, gain ground in playoff chase

Milwaukee Bucks’ Ersan İlyasova (7) strips the ball away from Cleveland Cavaliers’ Antawn Jamison (L) during the first half. (PHOTO ap, Jeffrey Phelps)

April 05, 2012, Thursday/ 16:42:00

Monta Ellis had 30 points, eight assists and five rebounds on Wednesday and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers for the seventh straight time, 107-98.

 Brandon Jennings added 19 points and Ersan İlyasova scored 18 for the Bucks, who have won four of their last five to pull within one game of idle New York for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs played without rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, who stayed behind in Cleveland to have an MRI and will miss 7-10 days with a contused and sprained right shoulder he aggravated in Tuesday’s loss to San Antonio. All five Cleveland starters scored in double digits, led by Anthony Parker’s 27 points, but the Cavs’ losing streak reached nine games.

The Bucks won the game mostly on the strength of a good start. They outscored the Cavs 29-14 in the first quarter, but lost each quarter after that -- which Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles was quick to point out afterward. “It’s a team we feel like we should handle a little easier than we did,” said Skiles.

Ellis and İlyasova scored eight points apiece and the Bucks shot 44 percent in the first quarter, holding Cleveland to 20.7 percent. Milwaukee led by as many as 15 in the quarter and by as much as 19 in the second on the way to a 53-39 edge at the break.

Parker had 10 of his 27 points in the third quarter but the Cavs were never closer than 11 and trailed 79-68 going into the fourth. They made a game of it late, getting within 93-87 on Antawn Jamison’s three- pointer from the high right side with three-and-a-half minutes left, but that was as close as it got. “Beating them every quarter [after the first] was good for us,” said Parker. “There are no moral victories here in the NBA but after the last couple of games we’ve had it’s a step in the right direction.”

Other NBA results: Indiana 109, Washington 96; Toronto 99, Philadelphia 78; Atlanta 120, Charlotte 93; San Antonio 87, Boston 86; New Orleans 94, Denver 92; Golden State 97, Minnesota 94; Miami 98, Oklahoma City 93; Dallas 95, Memphis 85; Phoenix 107, Utah 105; and Portland 101, New Jersey 88.

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