Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Blake Griffin continues to stuff the box score in every way possible for Doc Rivers. Griffin delivered 27 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and a steal in a team-high 38 minutes.
LVP: Brandon Knight’s play proved costly in the close loss, as the point guard missed nine of his 12 shots and had a game-high six turnovers. That performance ruined an otherwise positive night for the Bucks offense, led by Ramon Sessions (season-high 28 points).
That was … closer than expected. The worst team in the NBA put up an admirable fight, staying within single digits of the hosts for most of the contest before the Clippers pulled away down the stretch. With the win, the Clips extend their home winning streak to eight games.
— Brian Robb
Oh Me, Oh My
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Reviewing anything in a Bucks-Clippers game is a meaningless waste of everyone’s time.
— Jeremy Schmidt (@Bucksketball) March 25, 2014
Blake Griffin wanted to inbound the ball but this woman wouldn't give it to him because she was taking a picture Smh pic.twitter.com/R0zgQiOlBY
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) March 25, 2014
If Barnes hurt Giannis there, y'all know we were forming a posse, right?
— K L Chouinard (@AnaheimAmigos) March 25, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||10||0-2||0-0||0-0||1||2||3||1||0||0||1||1||-6||0|
|Big Baby, PF||14||4-6||0-0||1-2||1||3||4||0||2||0||0||0||+4||9|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Fred, Patrick and Andrew discuss their top-five all-time Clippers.
Check Your Messages
Doc Rivers’ mantra this season has been process over results.
The Clippers’ coach remains even-keeled regardless of a win or a loss, choosing to focus on how Los Angeles played on a given night rather than the final score.
With a pivotal five-game road trip with playoff implications looming, the Clippers understandably overlooked the lowly Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. As Rivers is quick to remind the media, it’s human nature to occasionally have an off-day or two.
Despite leading wire to wire, the Clippers’ 106-98 win was anything but impressive. The Bucks’ 26th-ranked offense shot 48.2 percent and turned the ball over only 10 times against their porous defense — numbers far better than their season averages.
Yet even in a near loss to the NBA’s worst team record-wise, Rivers remained cognizant of the bigger picture — the Clippers earned their 13th win in their last 14 games, and are on pace to locking up the three-seed with 50 wins already — and said he isn’t concerned with aesthetically pleasing victories.
– Jovan Buha at FOX Sports West
Sometimes, wins come in the mail. There’s a good chance you weren’t watching this game to see if the Clippers would win. They would. It took 27-plus minutes from the Clippers’ top six to get it done, but at this point, their winning “know-how” is on autopilot.
Some may have watched this game to see how Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo fared against the division-leading Clippers. The Greek Freak, as I don’t call him, has quite the cult following in his rookie season for the NBA’s worst team. I don’t feel comfortable with the thought of a Kevin Durant comparison at this time. However, his unique combination of height, length, youth, and utility create a sonic boom of the “p-word” that drives the hope of lottery teams everywhere: potential.
Antetokounmpo actually had a solid game, making all four of his field goals off the bench. I enjoyed watching him and his few interactions with another athletic marvel, Blake Griffin. Griffin has turned his “potential” into another “p-word”: polish. Tonight was a sleepy version of 27 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists. It’s not even headline worthy anymore.
After the game, Griffin embraced Antetokonmpo, who raced down and hustled to break up what would have been an alley-oop finish from Jamal Crawford on a first quarter fast break (Antetokounmpo would be called for a clear path foul). It will be interesting to see how a player of great physical talent such as Antetokounmpo’s progresses through these next few years. It doesn’t happen all the time — and it’s cool when a player such as Griffin produces so consistently that “potential” is no longer an athlete’s top redeeming quality.
– Law Murray
Finding Laughter In The Pain
Where does the entertainment value come from in a game like this? In the first half, there was some joy in the Clippers’ so-bad-it’s-good defense. There was lots of handsy aggression that let the Bucks get much better looks than they deserved; particularly fun moments included Glen Davis somehow poking the ball away from Ekpe Udoh in the post; Blake Griffin swatting away at the ball while guarding Sessions on the perimeter; and a pointless but also poorly executed trap on O.J. Mayo at half court.
Was it by design — a failed throwback to last season’s bench defense? Perhaps it was just high spirits. Either way, the starters did away with all that enjoyable silliness when they came back late in the second quarter. We the people got very little other after that, other than Blake’s in and out towards the end of the game. That one provided some life, even if it wasn’t technically legal.
But Bucks-Clips gave us one big thing to be thankful for, something that no other game this season could provide. I give you the sheer comic genius of the following body-mass-index matchups: a few minutes of Jared Dudley v. Giannis Antetokounmpo; (hold the) O.J. (all the) Mayo v. Darren Collison; and, best of all, Big Baby v. John Henson. Is it a cliché? Yes, yes it is. But only because it’s so freaking funny.
– J.D. Evans
Stoking The Flame
Ramon Sessions scored a season-high 28 points against a Chris Paul and Deandre Jordan-led defense. On a smorgasbord of nifty finishes and tough jumpers (only two threes and zero free throws) Sessions waltzed his way into a seven-assists, six-rebound, one-turnover masterpiece. Artificially scanning the box score one would assume the Clippers were rolling out the red carpet straight to the basket. However, a play late in the quarter; Sessions with an acrobatic winding layup in the lane about 2-3 other point guards in the NBA would consistently make, or take, encapsulates his night and effectively answers the question as to how the Milwaukee Bucks kept the game close.
The Clippers defense is what it is at this point of the season. A tame Monday night game against a bottom-feeding Eastern Conference shouldn’t dissuade opinions on either side. A Sessions explosion shouldn’t stoke the flames too much, even if they’re flickering ever so slightly.
– Andy Liu
Started From The Bottom
There’s no denying that this has been a depressing season in Milwaukee. At the beginning of the year the Bucks had playoff aspirations, but now they find themselves in a race to the bottom with the 76ers, a disappointing turnaround to say the least. But there is talent here, in Knight and Mayo, Larry Sanders and in the tremendously entertaining Giannis Antetokounmpo. With their draft pick this year, which is just about guaranteed to be in the top four or five, there will be even more talent on the roster. Considering the current state of the Eastern Conference, that could mean a very short reversal of fortune, and a return to the playoffs sooner rather than later.
I watched a lot of Clipper games when they were having seasons like the Bucks are now, and watching the game tonight I felt a twinge — not just a jolt of pity or the fog of boredom, I got a blast of empathy. It was an unhappy flashback to the peculiar and angst-inducing blend of sadness, frustration, and hope with which Clipper fans became so familiar, that basement-dweller mindset. So from a formerly-tortured fan to some currently-tortured ones: team building does happen, it can work. Good luck.
– Ben Mesirow
The Art & The Possible
Watch enough NBA basketball, and one notices teams run the same sets for the same players night after night. Especially on teams as good as the Clippers, this plays are repeated because they work, night after night. Some players do break this mold, whether it’s Steph Curry checking his heat, Kevin Durant chasing an MVP or Nick Young simply chucking. But mostly there is a certain deja vu because most times you have in fact seen that play before.
One of the joys of watching the Clippers is that every game presents an opportunity for new possibilities. That moment when Blake Griffin snares a long rebound and turns up the court with purpose in his gait. Given his explosiveness, passing eye and adventuresome-though-effective open-court ball-handling, Blake causes the viewer to calculate innumerable possibilities in the blink of an eye. At that moment every conceivable path by which the ball could travel to the basket swirls in the imagination. While this situation mostly leads to the mundane, it produces the transcendent just often enough to make the truly special the expectation rather than the exception. Few other players in the league can match this sense of “don’t look away” with a broken floor in front of them. It’s LeBron, Russell Westbrook, and Blake. That’s the full list.
In what has been an almost entirely lost season for the Bucks, we saw the glimmerings of a new addition to that cadre. While of course it’s ridiculously premature to mention Giannis Antetokounmpo in the same category of those illustrious players, when he snared a board near the sideline with about four minutes left, slalomed through several Clippers and sped to the rim before being unceremoniously (though appropriately, given the closeness of the score) halted by a half-nelson from Matt Barnes, those same limitless possibilities unfolded before him. And when you’ve been as bad as the Bucks have been, sometimes it’s ok to be exciting before you get good.
– Seth Partnow