Los Angeles Clippers (15-10) vs Milwaukee Bucks (10-16)
7:30 p.m. PST
December 16, 2015
Fox Prime Ticket
Last time they met?
December 9, 2015 — A week ago, the Clippers took advantage of a red hot J.J. Redick who unleashed on the Bucks with 31 points on 11/18 shooting (including 6/9 from deep). Chris Paul dished out 18 assists and the Clippers used a 34-point fourth quarter to beat the Bucks 109-95.
What’s changed since then?
The Clippers tore off a 4-1 road trip and the Milwaukee Bucks got the title of “Giant Killers” after ending the Golden State Warriors streak at 24.
Greg Monroe, who suffered a cruel fate at the hands of DeAndre Jordan last week will miss tonight’s contest with a sore left knee.
1. Why do the Clippers keep giving up 4th quarter leads?
Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU): The Clippers have consistently been a bottom-5 defense all season in the 4th quarter. This is the quarter that Lance Stephenson plays the least – and Jamal Crawford plays the most with the starters. When Crawford plays with the starters, it’s trick-or-treat; the defense is porous, but the offense is capable of making up for it. But the bench lineups with Crawford (and without Stephenson) are awful, yet the Clippers keep rolling them out to begin 4th quarters.
Aaron Williams (@aaronsmarter): Rotations, rotations, rotations. Doc has got to find roles for each of the guys who are going to be on the floor — both at the beginning and end of the final frame. More than that, he’s going to have to settle on one of the new guys for the small forward slot and either stick with that guy, or play to the match-ups presented, instead of just plugging in Crawford and hoping for the best.
Roscoe Whalan (@RoscoeWhalan7): The Clippers are like the Warriors — they get up by a bunch — rest the starters to start the fourth but the one major difference is the Clippers’ second unit can’t hold a lead. Doc perseveres, things get dire and then the starters have to come in and steady the ship. A love affair with Jamal Crawford in the fourth isn’t exactly healthy either.
2. When these two teams met last week Michael Carter-Williams had his way with the Clippers in the first half, should we expect to see more of the same?
Murray: It’s possible, as Carter-Williams is coming in on a bit of a hot streak. Carter-Williams has scored 17+ points in 3 of the last 4 games, including 20 points and 11 assists last Wednesday against the Clippers. He’s been efficient, and he’s taken care of the basketball. He’s so much bigger and longer than the Clippers’ guards for the most part, so he should have success if he keeps his shot selection in check.
Williams: Yes and no. Chris Paul is a lot smaller than the lanky Carter-Williams, but on the other hand, now that he’s gotten a good look at the young gun, Paul’s basketball genius and pit bull mentality will kick in and he’ll put at least one good clamp on his counterpart. The young Buck (get it?) will probably still get his, but not anywhere near the level attained through last week’s shock and awe campaign.
Whalan: MCW got to the basket at will in the first half last week but I think his success was part MCW mad skills and part poor Clippers defense. That said, he has embraced his new role coming off the bench for the Bucks and has averaged 11 points and nearly 6 assists per contest as sixth man. I expect him to continue to thrive in this role but I would hope the Clippers wouldn’t give up 20 points to him again tonight.
3. Did the Bucks unlock the “how to beat Golden State” strategy or nah?
Murray: The Bucks are going to be the only team this season to catch the Warriors on the last game of a 7-game road trip that also happens to be the 2nd night of a back-to-back. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Bucks C Greg Monroe dominated a Warriors team that prides itself on not playing their true Cs more than 20 minutes a game. The Clippers could have beaten Golden State twice this season (you saw Blake Griffin make 10+ FGs twice vs GS), but, you know, 4th quarter. We’ll see what the Bucks do in Oakland this week.
Williams: I never thought that there was anything to figure out. You beat Golden State by basically being Golden State: lots of long, versatile players who are as committed to a tight defensive scheme as they are to getting buckets. However, you can’t try to outscore the Dubs; with their not-so-secret weapon of mass de-Steph-tion, that tactic will never work. You can limit Curry’s effectiveness though, getting the ball out of his hands and blitzing Green while denying Curry. The problem is that it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds; a solution that is simple in planning is a whole different beast in execution.
Whalan: I think they got a special cheat code called “scheduling” to work in their favor. That said, the Bucks are certainly the type of team that can disrupt the Warriors — long, athletic and defensively very active.