Milwaukee Bucks Face Tough Stretch

2 of 6

Oct 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard

Michael Carter-Williams

(5) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers guard

James Jones

(1) and guard

Matthew Dellavedova

(8) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Bucks will open their crucial five game stretch against the Eastern Conference’s best team.

Cleveland has not disappointed in the early going. Despite being without Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers have managed to get out to a 7-1 start, winning every game since opening night.

Much of their early success can be attributed to the play of two of their stars. LeBron James remains one of the best five players in the NBA, putting in solid efforts on both sides of the floor on a nightly basis.

Kevin Love has also contributed, posting a solid 20.2 PER through eight games and playing a more involved role than he did at any point last year.

No player, however, has been as impressive as Mo Williams. After bringing him in during the off-season, Williams has stepped up in a major way in the absence of Kyrie Irving, posting 16.5 points and 5.5 assists per game.

Without Williams, the Cavs offense would be much closer to their efforts from the NBA Finals than the team that ran rough-shot over the Eastern Conference the second-half of last season.

In their past two visits in Milwaukee, the Cavs have won, including a dominant performance on March 22 when J.R Smith did this:

The key to this encounter will be the play of the Bucks star players. Cleveland doesn’t boast a deep bench, though they do possess solid rotation players in Tristan Thompson and J.R Smith.

Greg Monroe will need to contribute in a big way, cleaning the boards and taking advantage of the Cavs relatively weak interior defense. His match-up against Timofey Mozgov should provide the Bucks with their most favorable match-up.

Nothing, however, will be as exciting as seeing Giannis Antetokounmpo square off against LeBron James.

So far, Antetokounmpo looks like he’s taken a major step forward in his game. He’s been getting to the basket at will and is finishing his chances once he gets there.

If his early season run is for real, his match-up against James will go a long ways towards showing that.

Given the form these two teams are in, the Bucks look like underdogs. However, the Cavs will be coming off a Friday night match-up against the Knicks in New York.

Competing against the Cavs is a minimum requirement, and the Bucks won’t have a better opportunity to take advantage of Cleveland than they will this Saturday.

Next: Game 2: @ Washington