Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul had a bad Saturday night in Milwaukee last week, scoring only ten points on 15 shots and turning the ball over six times. Tonight, he outscored the Bucks at the free throw line by himself 11-8 on his way to a game-high 27 points and nine assists, while turning the ball over only twice.
That was … tight: Neither team had a ten-point lead at any point in this game, and the game was tied with just under 90 seconds remaining. The Clippers grabbing four of the last five available rebounds of this game helped them put the game away.
X factor: The Bucks need guys to step up now that rookie forward Jabari Parker is out for the season, and they got a great night from Jared Dudley, who was traded from the Clippers this offseason. On a night where Matt Barnes went scoreless, Dudley had 16 points, eight rebounds, and three assists off the bench.
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
All the West teams should watch the defensive game plan Kidd has crafted in defending CP3.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) December 21, 2014
When it’s Zaza Pachulia and Baby Davis in a jump ball situation, do they just call it a “ball”?
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) December 21, 2014
I turned on the Bucks game literally as Blake Griffin was dunking, which is probably a regular occurrence for those who watch LAC games.
— Jeremy Schmidt (@Bucksketball) December 21, 2014
Check Your Messages
Through one quarter, the Clippers led by only four points. But if you took away the scoreboard — you know, watched the game — you could feel the distinct cadence of the two rosters’ identity shine through.
The Clippers were frenetic, frantic even; with syncopated shouts and disjointed movements that are ripe with expressions of energy and intent, but little in composure. The Bucks? Things would break down constantly for them. A cross-screen would lead to a post-entry that yields nothing. A skip pass would be thrown late and the Clippers defense would reset with ease. Yet time and again the shot-clock would tick and a Buck would would have to make something happen.
Maybe Milwaukee is simply comfortable with the smooth drawl of “whatever happens, happens.” But the the team that should contend embodied all the nervous stutter while the franchise under construction put on its hardhat with a shrug and a swagger.
– Andrew Han
I can’t stand teams that lack emotional maturity. Doc Rivers warned that his team needed to chill with the technical fouls going into the season, as they cost you points in the short-term and calls in the long-term. Friday night, the Clippers were dinged with a maddening seven technical fouls, a ridiculous number in a three-point road loss.
My first observation going into this game? Joey Crawford was the lead official tonight in Staples Center. Oh snap.
Only, the Clippers kept their heads tonight. In a game that had to have been physically exhausting for the Clippers after playing in Denver the night before, the team kept their emotional poise, as there were no technical fouls called. Combine that with only two second-half turnovers against an impressive, disruptive Milwaukee defense, and tonight’s four-point win was a small mark of team growth going into next week’s road back-to-back.
– Law Murray