In what could potentially be a rematch later this summer, the Milwaukee Bucks dismantled the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, 119-91. The winning streak has now reached 14 games.
With both teams shooting ice cold from the floor to begin this one (an icy 0-for-6 from deep for Milwaukee), a spark needed to be found. For Milwaukee, that’d be their bench. Five straight threes (including two from Pat Connaughton) would kickstart their shooting and send them on a 19-2 run. Khris Middleton would find the hot hand in the opening minutes, wrapping up the quarter with 10 points. That’d help send Milwaukee on the way to a 15 point advantage moving into the second at 30-15.
The double-digit lead would be short-lived, as the Clippers would climb back on a 7-0 run of their own to siphon off Milwaukee’s momentum. Montrezl Harrell would provide a little ignition off the bench, but the Bucks would be able to cap off the run and hold the Clippers at bay. Heading into halftime, the Bucks led by nine, 52-43.
The third quarter is where the tide began to rise. Milwaukee started throwing haymakers left and right, led by no other group than the Bench Mob. The main instigator? Ersan Ilyasova. He’d explode for nine points in seven minutes, putting the Bucks over the hump and into the homestretch.
Postgame, Doc Rivers mentioned that he contemplated pulling the plug in the third, but was talked out of it. That’d last just about three minutes into the fourth, as he finally bit the bullet and waved the white flag, subbing out his entire lineup. When it was all wrapped up, the Bucks would trot on with a 119-91 victory.
The birthday boy Giannis Antetokounmpo would lead all scorers with a game-high 27 points. He’d also blend in 11 rebounds and four assists. Khris Middleton had a solid effort, making his presence felt with 17 points of his own. Three figures off the bench (D. DiVincenzo, P. Connaughton, and E. Ilyasova all contributed double-digit totals).
Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 17 points.
The Bucks are PHYSICAL.
In his postgame presser, the first and primary talking point that Doc Rivers referenced was Milwaukee’s physicality. He was clearly not pleased with his team’s 21 turnovers on the night, and attributed it a lot to the Bucks being a nuisance and running all over the floor:
In his postgame presser, Doc Rivers stressed just how big of a role Milwaukee's physicality played, even mentioning how his team couldn't even run some of their plays due to it. Here's his full quote: pic.twitter.com/lqjbCP596F— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 7, 2019
I asked Giannis about this postgame and he mentioned how it all stems down from Bud, and then is instilled in the team and they strive to execute to the best of their advantage. Going back to Doc, here’s the quote of the night (from both locker rooms):
Doc Rivers: “It was Giannis’ birthday and we searched all over the city to find a gift, couldn’t find one, so we gave him this one.”— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 7, 2019
If you ask me, I think Giannis liked that gift.
Donte DiVincenzo continues to be a pest.
We all know how he battled injuries last season, so it makes it that much better that Donte is engraving a tremendous presence this year. Last night was no different, as once again, he was all over the floor. It really seems that whenever there’s a ball on the ground, Donte’s the first one there. He’s also developed quite the ability to tip passes, or even get a full-blown steal. Coming into last night, he was the team leader in that category at 1.4 steals a game. That average has now gone up, as he accumulated four steals last night. Budenholzer has always given him major props in his ability to anticipate the timing of passes, and it truly has paid dividends for Milwaukee. I’m looking forward to see how his play continues to grow moving forward.
The Bench Mob continues to get the job done.
This isn’t breaking news. We’re all accustomed to it. Last night was just another chapter in the story. Early on, shots weren’t falling for the Bucks — until the bench mob came in. Sparked by Pat Connaughton (who finished with a perfect 5-for-5 from the field) and his pair of threes, they’d help catapult Milwaukee on a 19-2 run that really set the tone for the game. Mix in Ersan’s contributions in the third and it shines even deeper. Whenever the starters seem to lack the necessary energy, the Bench Mob comes back in and recalibrate everybody. They’re a huge reason as to why this team is 20-3, and will absolutely continue making major contributions.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- While he continues to be a massive force on the defensive end, Brook Lopez continues to be ice cold from 3-point land. Last night, he went 0-for-5 from deep. Bud’s been asked about it before, to which he responds that he’s not quite worried. In fact, he’s said that he wouldn’t be shocked if there was a stretch where he’d go 40-45 percent from deep to neutralize his overall percentage. Expect Brook to keep putting up the shots, and hopefully the results start to turn.
- Rule No. 1 when playing Press Your Luck. ALWAYS TAKE THE SECOND POTAWATOMI GIFT CARD.
Never turn down the Potawatomi gift card in Press Your Luck. Turn that $100 into $1,000 at the blackjack table.— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) December 7, 2019
You could also turn it into $1,000 at the craps table. Or even the war table! Yes, Potawatomi has war — and it’s an absolute RUSH. Whatever you do, just don’t play slots.
- I’d like to have a moment of silence for Ivica Zubac, who left us after Giannis did this to him:
- Here are a few interesting stats, courtesy of our good friends over at Bucks PR:
- This is the longest win streak for Milwaukee since it won 16 consecutive games from 2/28/73 - 10/13/73 (spanned two seasons) and is the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.
- The Bucks have also won their last 10 home games, marking their longest home winning streak since the 2003-04 season (10 games, 12/10 - 1/15).
- At 20-3, the Bucks have tied the 1970-71 and 1971-72 teams for the best 23-game start in franchise history.
- Milwaukee has outscored its opponents by a total of 137 points over its last four games (41 vs. CHA, 44 vs. NYK, 24 at DET, 28 vs. LAC). This marks the second-largest point differential over a four-game span in NBA history (highest: 150 points, Sacramento, 12/27/92 - 1/5/93).
Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
- Last, every time the Clippers play the Bucks, I become frustrated because I remember just how lame LA’s current logo is. I always think back to this re-design that a user on r/nba created. It’s simply gorgeous. DO IT, BALLMER.