The Bucks try to win four straight for the first time this season in their first ever meeting with Blake Griffin and the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Win Angeles. No team has played more home games (28) than the Clippers, where they are quite comfortable, having won eight in a row. On the season, they are 15-13 at the Staples Center, including home wins against the Thunder, Hornets, Spurs, Suns, Nuggets, and Heat.
Clipped. Eric Gordon (sprained right wrist/bone chip fracture), Chris Kaman (bone bruise/sprained left ankle), and Craig Smith (herniated disc in lower back) are out for the Clippers. Fortunate for the Bucks, because Gordon is a top-flight two guard these days, averaging 24.1 points on 46.8 % shooting from the field along with 4.5 assists. Kaman (10.5 points on 38.3 % shooting) was way off before getting hurt, but he went for 20 points and 8 rebounds the last time Milwaukee visited as the Clips dropped the Bucks last St. Patrick's Day. Meanwhile, Cookie Monster Craig Smith always seems to play well against the Bucks (career: 8.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 60.5 % shooting).
Positivity. The Davis/Foye/Gomes/Griffin/Jordan unit has a +23 differential in 173 minutes together this season.
Meanwhile, the Dooling/Douglas-Roberts/Maggette/Ilyasova/Bogut fivesome is +30 in 84 minutes, making it the most positive lineup for the Bucks in terms of overall differential this season, curiously enough.
Blake Superior. Griffin is dominant. He is averaging 25.5 points in 2011 (this year, not this season). He makes 5.3 free throws per game (though just 61.5 % at the stripe). He dunks the ball semi-regularly. He has double-digit rebounds in 32 of his last 33 games (he had 8 in the other). I'm a little bit surprised that he is only averaging 0.5 blocks, but other than that, flaws are hard to find. Andrew Bogut won't match up on Griffin by design, but the best dunker facing the best shotblocker makes for an intriguing subplot.
The bottom line. The Clippers are the worst free throw shooting team in the NBA, hitting just 69.1 % from the line. If they finish the season at that mark, it would be the worst percentage since the Heat shot 69.0 % in 2006-07. Griffin (.615) is a big part of the problem, DeAndre Jordan (.458) is worse than Bogut at the line, and Baron Davis (.691) is missing the mark after shooting a career-high 82.1 % from the striple last season. But the Clippers are fourth in the NBA in free throws attempted per game, so they make a reasonable 18.9 per game, just ahead of Milwaukee (18.6) for 12th overall.