Depth comes up big, Bobby Portis logs rare feat as Bucks come back against Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers v Milwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles Clippers v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Bucks put their five-game winning streak on the line as the LA Clippers, one of the NBA's other prominent contenders, came to town.

Things got much more challenging when it was announced pregame that the Bucks would have to play without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was visibly uncomfortable in pregame warmups due to Achilles tendonitis. That was in addition to Khris Middleton also being ruled out as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Still, even without two of their three best players in the fold, the Bucks would have to embrace a next player up mentality. Coach Doc Rivers would have to piece together out of the box lineups, and other players would see minutes they typically would not. To their credit, everyone welcomed the challenge.

After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Clippers led for the next two and a half quarters, building up a lead as big as 15 points. However, despite being banged up and in a deep deficit, Milwaukee's players kept their composure and never gave up. About halfway through the fourth, they reclaimed the lead and never let it go, riding it until the end.

Thanks to some clutch play, the Bucks managed to secure a 113-106 victory on their home floor, storming back to beat the Clippers.

Depth comes up big, Bobby Portis logs rare feat as Bucks come back against Clippers

With no Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis was one of the players who needed to step up. With all of the rumors about trading him absent, he's been much better post-All-Star break, a trend that, thankfully, continued in this massive win.

Portis was masterful off of the bench, knocking down 3-pointers, hitting his shots inside and hauling in rebounds like his life depended on it. The big man finished with an impressive stat line of 28 points and 16 rebounds on 66.7 percent shooting. With this stat line, Portis became the first player with a 25-point, 15-rebound game off the bench this season, per StatMuse.

The veteran scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, helping fuel a significant turnaround for the Bucks. Speaking of the final frame, Damian Lillard scored 10 points in the final 12 minutes, including a tough layup to give his team the lead late. Lillard finished with 41 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal, having one of his best games as a Milwaukee Buck to date.

Meanwhile, Patrick Beverley, playing against his former team, had an all-around performance, doing a bit of everything with 14 points, nine rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block. Perhaps the most impressive stat from the night was that LA players shot a whopping 4-of-16 (25 percent) when being matched up against Beverley. That included holding Kawhi Leonard to 0-of-4 shooting.

It seems like a cliche at this point to say that Beverley brings a spark whenever he touches the floor due to his intensity, but it was undoubtedly on display in this matchup. He played like a rookie trying to get their next contract, doing all of the dirty work to ensure Milwaukee came out on top with a win. He's been a huge addition to the Bucks since coming over at the trade deadline.

With the Bucks playing very shorthanded, two players who saw extended minutes were AJ Green and Danilo Gallinari. Both gave the team a spark with big plays, as Green sunk an insanely deep triple in the fourth quarter, which he played every minute of. Gallinari came out of nowhere to throw down a putback dunk, getting everyone out of their seats as the 35-old-year showed he could still get up.

On the other side of the ball, Paul George and James Harden both had it going with 29 points apiece, but it was not enough with Kawhi Leonard (16 points on 19 shots) and Norman Powell (six points on eight shots) both struggling. Milwaukee's defense, primarily the point guards, did an excellent job of hounding the latter two to fuel their struggles.

Ultimately, this was a tremendous win for the shorthanded Bucks. Coming all the way back from 15 down showed the grit this team has and what they are capable of. The status of Antetokounmpo is something to keep an eye on moving forward. Hopefully this Achilles tendonitis is not a trend, as it appears the Bucks are finally hitting their stride as of late.

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