Game in Review: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Clippers – December 9


Milwaukee Bucks tried to run a track meet before the dam broke on defense and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away late.

Starting Lineups

Milwaukee Bucks: O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Jabari ParkerGiannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe

Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah A Moute, Blake GriffinDeAndre Jordan

After topping the Knicks and Trail Blazers in their last two games, the Milwaukee Bucks were officially streaking heading into tonight’s match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Los Angeles, a team still trying to figure their chemistry and rotation out, still offered one of the league’s most dangerous offensive threats. While the supporting cast has changed quite a bit since last season, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan still form a fantastic trio, and they would be quite the challenge compared to recent competition.

As has been the case with the last few games, O.J. Mayo started at point guard with Michael Carter-Williams coming off the bench continuing the experimental lineups head coach Jason Kidd has been using of late.

Also of note? The Bucks debuting their black alternate uniforms and an alternate home court! We’re not suggesting you need to go and take a look at them, but we highly suggest you take a peak if possible.

Dec 9, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; General view of the BMO Harris Bradley Center including the alternate court in use prior to the game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Things kicked off a bit sloppy for both sides with the Bucks and Clippers committing plenty of turnovers as they vetted one another out.  Eventually an equilibrium was achieved as the Bucks started to score at a high clip inside while scrambling a bit on defense resulting in plenty of open perimeter looks for LA.

JJ Redick opened up with three triples, though surprisingly the Bucks found their answer in an off-the-bench MCW who put in nine points in four minutes taking advantage of holes in LA’s interior D.

A one point lead for Milwaukee after the first was punctuated by the death of Greg Monroe as he attempted to take a DeAndre Jordan charge.  The crime scene wasn’t pretty, to say the least and it only resulted in a Jordan and-1 dunk.

Miracles on the court opened the second quarter as a miraculous Johnny O’Bryant corner three went in, causing this author to laugh out loud. LA swapped in their second unit, and an even more open paint thanks to the absence of Jordan helped spark an 8-0 Bucks run to drive an 11 point lead.

Mayo was hot throughout the second, but he and the rest of the team began to cool rapidly allowing the Clippers to claw their way back. Notably, the Bucks would often be caught trying to aggressively double Paul or Griffin, opening up plenty of passing lanes which the Bucks desperately tried to cover (unsuccessfully). Transition offense started to pick up for LA, and they closed the quarter once again only down 1, 47-48.

Dec 9, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) shoots over Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) during the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Clippers won 109-95. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If a track meet was what the Bucks were looking for, it appeared as though they had it heading into the half. Whether the virtual sieve they presented on defense would come back to haunt them remained to be seen.

Another hot start outside of the break for Milwaukee gave some flashes of hope, but then the dam started to break on D, and JJ Redick went inferno on a string of possessions that saw the Clippers grab an 11-0 run. Redick would end with 31 points on 11-18 shooting (with six threes).

Many of the guys for the Bucks who had been consistent in the first half couldn’t really buy a bucket in the second, and that certainly only added insult to injury. Los Angeles had turned up the intensity and execution a few notches, and it showed on both ends.

The other noticeable difference for LA in the third?  They weren’t playing nearly as much half-court offense thanks to a few timely Milwaukee turnovers and were also able to capitalize on a great rebounding advantage for second-chance points.

Jason Kidd tried to insert MCW and John Henson in order to stem the tide, but even they had minimal impact defensively as the Bucks fumbled the lead to LA, 75-68.

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While JJ Redick had gotten into a rhythm, the other Clippers stars remained nondescript, and it felt like only a matter of time until the stars made their impact felt.

With the Clippers subbing in their bench unit to start the 4th, the best chance at making things close down the stretch presented itself. If only the Bucks could clamp down a bit while someone got hot, things may get interesting.

Instead, a motion-heavy offensive scheme for LA kept the Bucks scrambling and giving up trailing and-1s on consecutive possessions. Josh Smith of all players put on an excellent defensive exhibition stifling the Bucks interior offense allowing LA to hold onto their lead until their starters were swapped back in.

A Blake Griffin alley-oop layup tossed to him from halfcourt with about 6 minutes left to put the Clippers up eight appeared to indicate which way the Bucks D was trending (hint: downward).

Milwaukee had one more crack at turning things around at full strength with 5:54 left in the game, but some empty offensive sets and back-to-back threes for the Clippers forced the Hack-A-Jordan strategy to light, and eventually signaled the sealing of the game for LA (though Jordan was 5-12  on free throws).

A few baskets traded back and forth was how the game ended up finishing out, and the Bucks fell 109-95.  As the team heads forward into the abyss that is their schedule, they can take solace tonight that even their alternate uniforms look better than the Clippers redesigned look.

That certainly means something at the end of the day, doesn’t it?

89. Final. 109. 77. 95

Next up for the Bucks is a road game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday.