Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Milwaukee put up a surprisingly intense fight in Los Angeles, playing the Clippers close into the 4th quarter. In the end, though, the Bucks simply couldn't match LA's explosiveness.
Blake Griffin recorded his first triple-double of the season with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists to help the Los Angeles Clippers pull away from the Milwaukee Bucks 117-101. Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes added a combined 45 points off the bench for the Clippers, who shot 54% from the floor and 41% from behind the arc.
The Bucks got another double-double from Brandon Jennings, who scored 18 points and dished 12 assists. Jennings' 48 assists over the past three games are the most over a three-game span of any player in the NBA this season. Monta Ellis also continued his streak of strong scoring performances, sinking 9 of his 15 shots for 22 points, while Ersan Ilysaova bounced back from a rough outing with an efficient 20 points.
The Bucks ran an impressive offense for much of the game, and they needed every bit of it to keep up with the high-flying Clippers, who ran everything through their two stars. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin set up a multitude of Clipper three-pointers, aided by some wandering defense from the Bucks. Barnes made 6 of his 11 attempts from deep while Crawford was 3-6. Los Angeles also hit the offensive glass hard, grabbing over 31% of their own misses and sending a few back through the net with emphatic putback dunks. No basket was more devastating than a breakaway alley-oop slam from Crawford to Griffin which essentially put the game away.
The final margin belies what was an entirely respectable effort from the Bucks against an elite Western Conference team, one that maintained some encouraging trends. Jennings is still assisting, Ellis is still driving, and the Bucks are still scoring at a greatly improved rate. But the defense has slid, and Milwaukee is getting hit particularly hard on the boards. Larry Sanders looked a little confused trying to keep everything under control near the basket, no small thing considering his mastery of interior defense this season. The game brought his streak of games with at least one blocked shot to an end at 40 straight.