Sam Cassell broke a 90-90 tie by making a 12-foot jump shot with
22 seconds left.
"That was a shot I had to make. This was a game we had to have,'' Cassell said.
Desmond Mason and Gary Payton added 18 points each and Kukoc had
15 of his 17 points in the second half. Cassell finished with 12
The Bucks, who have five games remaining, reduced their magic number to three over Washington in the race for the East's final playoff berth. Any combination of three Milwaukee victories and/or Washington losses gives the berth to the Bucks.
"We came in and competed against a team fighting for a playoff berth,'' Cleveland coach Keith Smart said. "This could have been detrimental to them and what they're trying to get done.''
Kukoc scored the final seven points as Milwaukee caught the Cavaliers at 67 entering the fourth quarter. Kukoc tied it again at 71, then assisted on a layup by Redd as the Bucks pulled ahead with a 9-0 run. They never trailed again, but Cleveland wouldn't let them pull away.
Cleveland closed to 86-85 only to have Mason drive for
back-to-back layups for a five-point lead.
"Fortunately, I was able to produce when I took it to the hole,'' Mason said. "We all need to continue to take the ball to the basket more.''
A 3-pointer by Jumaine Jones, his third of the game, made it 90-88, then Davis tied it with 42 seconds left.
Cassell's shot broke the tie with 22 seconds left and Ervin
Johnson stole the ball from Davis before Cleveland could get off a
shot. Redd made two free throws with 15 seconds left to make it
A 3-pointer by Davis was followed by two more free throws by
Redd with 3 seconds left and a last-second 3-pointer by Tierre
Brown from midcourt was off target.
"It was too late to make up for that steal, a little too late,'' Davis said.
"Well, I'm sure that's going to show up on all the highlight films,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl said of Johnson's defensive play. "It was a great steal, though, and a great defensive play.''
Davis credited Kukoc with turning the game in Milwaukee's favor.
"Our problem was stopping Kukoc,'' Davis said. "We got him fired up and he couldn't be stopped in the third and fourth quarters. He was doing a superb job and got the crowd back into it. They took the momentum and that was it.''
Cleveland shot only 32 percent (9-of-28) in the first half, but
a 9-0 run put the Cavs ahead 38-37. But the Bucks, getting 14
points from Mason, led 45-43 at halftime.
"Defensively, we battled and played with some guts that
probably won the game for us,'' Karl said.
Davis scored 90 points in the first three games against the
Bucks this season. ... Milwaukee forwards Anthony Mason (left
thigh) and Jason Caffey (back) didn't dress for the third straight
game. ... Although they swept Dallas, which has the NBA's best
record (56-19), the Bucks were 4-10 against the Midwest Division,
going 1-1 against Houston and Denver and 0-2 against Memphis,
Minnesota, San Antonio and Utah.