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Rapid Recap: Bucks 98, Clippers 105

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The West Coast road trips are never easy, but the Milwaukee Bucks could have used an opening night win here against the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately, the Clippers were on fire from deep and won this one, 105-98. After one, Milwaukee trailed just 35-29 despite a barrage of seven 3-pointers from the Clippers in the period. The Bucks fell behind Los Angeles early in the second, but managed to make up ground in the last minute to trail only 62-56 at half. Milwaukee finally got going in the third quarter, using an aggressive Giannis Antetokounmpo to lead 82-78 after three. The Bucks coughed up a frustratingly easy run to the Clippers with a series of open looks from deep and Milwaukee lost this first road game in the Staples Center.

It’s not a death knell to lose the first game of a four-game road trip, but it doesn’t bode well after the Bucks strong showing against the Spurs. One would’ve hoped they could transition that defensive effort into tonight’s tilt, but Los Angeles was ready to exploit them at every step from beyond the arc. That last sentence doesn’t exactly engender much confidence in their chances Thursday against Golden State.

Giannis was a defensive menace at the rim by notching five blocks, and the rest of his stat line followed his usual do-it-all philosophy with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Unfortunately, a quiet first half and fourth quarter meant Milwaukee needed even more from their superstar tonight to pull this one out on the road.

Khris Middleton was going early, attempting the most shots on the team in the first half, but he was relatively absent in the second half en route to 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Eric Bledsoe had an efficient night shooting and a monster night on the boards, but his 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists were somewhat blurred by his carelessness with the ball as he finished with six turnovers. Jabari Parker played his worst game yet this year, shooting just 1-12 for only two points.

Milos Teodosic was dominating the game early with his passing and shooting, but he left the game in the second quarter and ended with 13 points and four assists. DeAndre Jordan was his usual self beasting on the boards with 16 rebounds and 12 points. Former Buck Tobias Harris played third fiddle to finish with 19 points while Lou Williams added 16.

Stat that Stood Out

15-28 from Three - I hate to always break out the simple stats in this section, but sometimes it’s as easy as that to illustrate why Milwaukee lost this game. The Clippers were splashing some spectacular pull-up threes, but more often than not the curse of the corner triple returned for this Bucks team. Whether it was through drive-and-kicks or the Bucks trapping unnecessarily high, the Clippers had open lanes to shooters in the corners for most of the evening, and the Clippers delivered from deep. Meanwhile, the Bucks had shot just 6-23 from deep.