CLEVELAND -- The idea of putting two solid games together is a good one.
But so far it's just an idea for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks' hopes of winning two straight faded fast in a 93-78 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
Milwaukee (8-34) was out-hustled and out-rebounded as it failed to build on its three-point victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, an outcome that snapped a nine-game losing streak.
The Cavaliers pulled down 52 rebounds, including 21 on the offensive end, to just 34 rebounds for the Bucks.
"They got things kind of easy," Bucks guard Brandon Knight said. "They started getting a lot of easy buckets and just started to steamroll from there.
"We didn't make shots. A lot of our sets we didn't really run the right way; a lot of things got broken down. We didn't execute well tonight."
And there were a few other concerning notes for the Bucks, including center Ekpe Udoh limping off after spraining his left ankle in the second quarter. He did not return to the game.
Rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo clutched his left side in pain after he dived to the floor in the fourth quarter, and he revealed after the game he was fighting some back pain before tip-off.
"My back was hurting me at the time we went out to shoot (in warm-ups)," Antetokounmpo said. "After I dived on the ground, I felt pain.
"I've never missed a game because of an injury. I hope I never miss a game, but injuries are going to come. That's part of basketball."
Antetokounmpo finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 26 minutes, and Khris Middleton paced the Bucks with 13 points off the bench.
Anderson Varejao led the Cavaliers (16-27) with 16 points and power forward Tristan Thompson powered his way in the lane and had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Tyler Zeller contributed nine rebounds and three blocks and had the play of the night with a block of a fast-break layup attempt by Luke Ridnour. The hustle led to a three-point play by Thompson as Cleveland turned the game into a rout late in the third quarter.
"It's all about energy," Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova said. "We couldn't keep up. They played really well as far as moving the ball.
"They really crash the offensive glass with Thompson and Varejao. It's their strength. It's all about effort. We have to bring it every night and every game."
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, voted an Eastern Conference all-star starter, had 10 points and 10 assists and helped limit Knight to just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting.
"Every time I just want to pressure him and make it tough on him," Irving said. "If we can contain him, we can contain the Milwaukee Bucks."
Bucks coach Larry Drew was hoping his team could build on its performance Wednesday, when it out-rebounded a physical Detroit team.
Instead, the Cavaliers led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter and scored 48 points in the paint.
"We didn't play with a sense of urgency and, clearly, that's my responsibility," Drew said. "I have to get them ready to compete coming out of halftime.
"There were stretches where they completely manhandled us in the paint. They got their hands on a lot of balls that we should have had tonight."
The Bucks have to regroup quickly as they return home to face the Atlanta Hawks, marking the teams' first meeting since Drew landed in Milwaukee after three seasons as Atlanta's head coach and nine years on the Hawks staff.
"I'm pretty sure everybody wants to beat the team they came from," Knight said. "Hopefully we cannot repeat tonight and play much better, make the game competitive and hopefully come out with a win."
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