Recap | Clippers 106, Bucks 98: Moral victory, but familiar defeat

The Bucks rebounded well after getting crushed in Sacramento, but found themselves losers of their eighth straight game.

Box Score

The Bucks were back to their competitive but non-threatening ways, as they battled back from an early 15 point deficit and surprisingly stayed with one of the West's best. However, the results remained the same, as they dropped their eighth game in a row, losing 106-98.

It wouldn't be fair if I just chalked this up as another unremarkable loss. The Bucks came back after getting pummeled by Sacramento and played a pretty decent game. They weren't able to really stop Blake Griffin (27p/14r/6a), but nobody has been able to accomplish that over the last couple of months. Outside of Griffin, no other Clipper was really a constant thorn in the Bucks side, as the next highest scorer was Darren Collison with 15 points.

After a sluggish first quarter that found the Bucks down by 10, Milwaukee was able to gain a little ground against the Clippers second unit. The charge was mostly led by the older Bucks, as Ramon Sessions (28p/7a/6r), Jeff Adrien (14p/7r), and Zaza Pachulia (14p/8a/6r) were contributing in different ways, while keeping the Bucks looking active when it felt like the Clippers would pull away at any second. The 27 assists also kept the offense in a respectable balance as the close game wound down, but a few too many crunch time possessions ended up with turnovers or lack of execution, and the Bucks find themselves winless on their west coast road trip.

Observations:

  • Brandon Knight has had back-to-back disappointing performances, this time mustering up 9p/3r/3a. He also had six turnovers on the night, looking more like the November version of himself rather than the encouraging February version. There isn't any real tangible thing you can attribute Knight's recent struggles to; he just looks a little bit more disconnected from what was working so well for him earlier, whatever that was. Maybe losing Nate Wolters has had some effect on Knight, though that is hard to really buy into right now. Let's just hope that these last two games were more blip than regression.
  • One more thing about Knight. I think he set a record for most on-air silences following his shots by a TV telecast. "Brandon Knight for three!"

*crickets*

  • Both John Henson and and Giannis Antetokounmpo played with good activity tonight. Henson, in a shade under only 20 minutes of action, tallied up 10p/7r, and was crafty under the rim when the ball was dumped off to him. That creativity is encouraging, but I'd like to see Henson catch a ball and gather himself to really go up strong once in a while. Maybe he chooses layups over dunks because he dreads the 30 seconds he would have to spend at the free throw line if he draws the foul, or maybe he just doesn't have the strength to finish with strong contact. But I'd like to see Henson go up strong because (to me) it would signal that he's thinking less, which I would consider a good thing. Henson is generally more effective when he makes his moves quickly. It not only makes his length more of weapon, but it doesn't give the defense a chance to refer back to their scouting report and alter their scheme to force him into a spot he isn't comfortable with. It's not a big deal right now, but might become one the more and more Henson plays (if he does get those minutes).
  • Giannis had an up-and-down, 9p/3r performance, but did manage to complete another coast-to-coast superhighlight. These are always very enjoyable.

  • Again, I ask you to not look at Khris Middleton's stat line. Just...don't.
  • The Bucks will close out their road trip winless, but played three very good playoff team close and didn't lose any ground to the ''surging'' 76ers. Even if a largely disappointing blowout at the hand of the Kings happened in between close losses, could we consider this Pacific visit....encouraging?
  • The Bucks host the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday. It is arguably one of their few ''winnable'' games left, and could factor largely in the race to the best lottery odds. Can they hold on to the bottom spot?
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