|Final - 12.15.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Clippers||28||27||24||32||111|
"The horror! The horror!"
The entirety of the Milwaukee Bucks 111-85 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers was a trip into a heart of NBA darkness rife with bad shooting, NBA Jam-style dunks, and a ominous indictment of a deep team playing in a shallow pool.
The athletic Bucks frontcourt was beaten down by the more athletic, uber-powerful Clippers duo of DeAndre Jordan (15 pts, 7-10 fg, 11 rbs) and Blake Griffin (18 pts, 7-12 fg, 4-5 ft, 11 rbs). Chris Paul did Chris Paul things (10 pts, 4-10 fg, 13 asts, 2 stls, 1 to), at more than one point looking like he consciously passed up an open look at the rim in favor of a slick wraparound pass turned dunk.
By halftime, the Bucks posted 35 points (their second lowest per-half total of the season), shooting less than half the Clippers' percentage (26% vs. 53%) and all but prematurely ending one winning streak and extending another (nine in a row for the Clips).
Marquis Daniels led the Bucks with 14 points (5-12 fg, 2-4 3fg), 5 rebounds and 2 steals. In related news, Daniels also led the team in negative plus-minus, registering a depressingly impressive -32. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 22 points on 27 shots, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls, and 5 turnovers.
Ultimately, the Clippers comfortably won the every measurable battle waged in the bigger picture war, most notably points in the paint, transition scoring, and breaking out the victory cigars halfway through the fourth quarter.
Ekpe Udoh. At the start of the second quarter, Udoh (9 pts, 4-5 fg, 5 rbs) power stepped towards the baseline, pump-faked, and laid the ball in. It was the Bucks’ most offensive-looking play of the night.
Mike Dunleavy. I believe the Bucks have sent 15 "Get Well Soon" cards around the locker room in the hopes it helps Dunleavy heal faster.
Beno Udrih. He was walking without crutches after the game. So there’s that.
-38. This was the Bucks’ paint scoring deficit (66 vs. 28).
-23. This was the Bucks’ transition scoring deficit (31 vs. 8).
-3,496. This was the Bucks’ dunk deficit (4,000 vs. 4).
Watching the Clippers. Call me a troll, or Jeremy Schmidt, or whatever, but watching Chris Paul patiently break down a defense, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan assume they can dunk at every opportunity, and Eric Bledsoe charge the hoop with reckless abandon is really something.
Marquis Daniels’ three point shooting. Almost exclusively from weak side spot-ups, Daniels’ has filled the role of long range gunner admirably over the past five games as a starter (7-11 3fg, 63.6%). Daniels doesn't get enough looks to keep defenses honest, but at least someone is hitting threes consistently. Also, his impending regression to the mean (23.3% career three point shooter) will hopefully coincide with the return of Dunleavy and Udrih.
"Drew Gooden for three!" We heard it once in the final three minutes of the game. We probably won’t hear it again.
Power and athleticism. No doubt the Bucks have a collection of athletes, but they're skills are almost exclusively applicable to the defensive end. Even in that case, the Tube Men deflate against brutish, equally athletic big men. Griffin and Jordan are just the latest combinations of length, athleticism, and power to expose this weakness.
The truth. In the context of the past week, and this season overall, a loss like this isn't unbecoming. The Clippers were coming off two days rest, they now have won nine straight, and the only two Western Conference teams the Bucks have beaten were the bottom-feeding Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets. We pretty much know what this team is and isn't (TEASER: more on this next week!), and these facts are not likely to change, baring a major personnel move.
Brandon Jennings' shot selection. Jennings had a whale of a time getting any good looks, but that certainly didn't stop the shots from flowing. He's had a pretty rough stretch of late, averaging 17 points on 17.8 shots per game, shooting just 32.6% fg and 28.6% 3fg in that span. Many of those misses have come from the right side of the floor (ANOTHER TEASER: more on this next week) where Jennings often struggles to create shots.
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