Recap | Clippers 114, Bucks 86: Energy changes, but results don't

"I just want to know where you got your winter jacket, Khris. It looks warm...gosh!" - Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Though it wasn't too hard to improve on the energy levels from previous games, the Bucks did come out more focused against one of the West's best. The result, however, did not change.

Box Score

Yeah, well, are you surprised really?

I won't say that tonight's 114-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers wasn't bad. In fact, it got quite ugly at times. But the Clippers are really good and the Bucks are pretty gross and well, the result shouldn't shock you. This certainly isn't rock bottom tonight.

Hooray for...optimism?

The Bucks increase in energy from the start bode them well, as they at least kept themselves relatively competitive by sprinkling in some jumpers throughout the first quarter. However, a 21-2 Clippers run in the latter half of the second quarter filled with dunks, threes, dunks, jumpers, dunks, dunks, and dunks propelled the Clippers forward to a wide enough margin that essentially sealed the game's fate before halftime. Even without Chris Paul, the Clippers found a way to take control of the game quickly, mostly behind strong performances from Jamal Crawford (25 points) and Blake Griffin (20p/5r). Darren Collison added 15 of his own and JJ Redick chipped in with 14, but more importantly kept Giannis away from making impactful plays on defense by running all over the court with Giannis doing everything he can to keep up. The Clippers have too much for the Bucks to keep up with, even if the Bucks had been able to continue to make shots through the remaining three quarters.

The Bucks were led in scoring by Ersan Ilyasova, who had 16 on the night. Normally, you would think that is a good thing, but when your leading scorer goes 6-22 from the floor and gets bullied on defense by Blake Griffin (to be fair, lots of defenders do, but...), well, that's not exactly fantastic. Khris Middleton had 14 points on 7-15 shooting, John Henson had 11p/8r and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 8p/7r, but their impact on the game was never really felt after the first quarter, whether it be because of foul trouble (Henson) or just because the game out of hand before half. Giannis did have a neat one-handed dunk in where he covered a significant amount of court in so few steps and had a nifty layup from the same spot where he wiggled his way around some Clippers defenders on the baseline and stretched his arm out Space Jam-style for a reverse layup, but couldn't find enough opportunities to make more plays. Such is life.

Observations

If there was a drinking game (take a drink for every lazy pass on the perimeter), how long would one last? Half the game? Whole game? ...Can we make a Bucks drinking game (responsibly, of course)?

Khris Middleton got a technical called on him for going chest-to-chest with Blake Griffin in the first half. WHAT A LOOSE CANNON, lol, trade this clown, right?

O.J. Mayo and Larry Sanders were out with an illness after missing a game last week (together). They came back and played generally uninspired on Saturday, so it doesn't surprise me to hear that the illness has returned to a point to sideline them, but I just wonder why they even bothered to play Saturday if they were sick. Not a big deal, just something that was confusing when the news broke tonight.

Gary Neal was a DNP-CD because of a ''potential illness'' that Larry Drew didn't feel was worth making worse by playing Neal tonight. Good one, guys!

Nate Wolters played for a small chunk of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter. It is good to see Naters get some minutes but, as our own Dan Sinclair pointed out during the game, it would be nice to see Nate get a little bit of playing time when the game hasn't already been decided and deemed laughable already. Wolters is maybe barely a downgrade from current backup Luke Ridnour at this point, so why not roll with it? What in the world could you have to lose by going with that move for a while?

Miroslav Raduljica had 11p/6r in 23 minutes of play. He's going to have to pick things up a little bit more if he wants to earn his All-Star reserves selection. THERE'S ONLY THREE MORE DAYS, MIROSLAV. GET THE LEAD OUT, MAN!

Coming Up

The Bucks are hosting the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday before heading down to Orlando to face the just slightly less awful Magic on Friday to close out a forgettable month of basketball. The only goal for this week is to get one photo of Giannis with some Mickey ears, right? Yeah, that seems reasonable.

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