Khris Middleton: Cavaliers "Still Figuring It Out"

With Kevin Love back in the fold, Cleveland could be a dangerous team in the playoffs

Tiki and Tierney
March 20, 2018 - 5:54 pm

USA Today Images


Khris Middleton scored 30 points against the Cavs on Monday, but it wasn’t enough for the Bucks to squeak out a win in Cleveland. Instead, LeBron James went off for 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Cavs to a 124-117 win in Kevin Love’s first game back from a broken hand.

Cleveland (41-29) is 9-7 since overhauling its roster before the trade deadline. 

So, how did the Cavs look Monday night?

“They seem like they’re still figuring it out,” Middleton said on Tiki and Tierney. “They got a lot of new pieces over the All-Star break, but you can see LeBron (is working with them). Each player is trying to help each guy out and make his teammates better, which makes (James) that special player that he is.”

Cleveland is clinging to the fourth spot in the East, while Milwaukee (37-33) is eighth. The Bucks have a pretty good shot at making the playoffs, though, as they lead Detroit (31-39) by six games.

If the playoffs started today, the Bucks would face the Raptors in the first round – the same team they faced in the first round a season ago. Milwaukee led that series 2-1 but dropped the final three games, including Game 6, 92-89.

“We learned from that,” said Middleton, who is in his sixth season. “This year hopefully we can learn from that and advance to the next round. But the more we play in the playoffs, the deeper we go . . . each time we feel we have to learn from it and move on from it. This year, we feel like we have all the pieces that we need.”

Middleton is averaging 20.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists and shooting 35.8 percent from three-point range. Giannis Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, is averaging team-highs in points (27.5), rebounds (10.1), assists (4.8) and blocks (1.4)

Milwaukee is 13-11 since firing Jason Kidd on Jan. 22. Middleton didn’t share his opinion on Kidd’s firing, saying, “We have to do our job on the court and let the front office (make) all those type of decisions.” But he did say the Bucks’ offense is a little more wide open under Joe Prunty. 

“For us, we have a lot more ball movement, some side-to-side plays,” Middleton said. “We were a team that stayed on one side of the court pretty much the whole time, and with Joe, he put a big emphasis on playing at a fast pace and also just moving the ball, trying to spread out the defense and try not to settle for isolations as much.”

Milwaukee hosts the Clippers (37-32) on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.

In non-basketball news, Middleton recently pledged $1 million to his alma mater, Porter-Gaud, over the next five years to support scholarships for underserved and minority students in Charleston, South Carolina. The Middleton Scholars program will provide full or partial tuition and educational expenses for local high school students to attend Porter-Gaud, beginning in the 2019-20 school year.  The Middleton Scholars program aims to increase diversity at Porter-Gaud by awarding scholarships to high-achieving, underserved and minority students.

In the offseason, Middleton, a Charleston native, returns home to host a summer camp that includes family, childhood friends, and former high school teammates and coaches. From the camp’s nurse to the dj, each member of the camp’s staff has played a significant part in Middleton's life, and he’s extremely involved in helping coach and run the camp himself.