The Milwaukee Bucks started their west coast road trip with a 129-105 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. After getting off to a fast start in the first quarter, Milwaukee’s offense went ice cold and the Clippers’ went SUPERNOVA from deep for the majority of the game
What We Learned
Obviously not how you want to begin a long road trip, but the Bucks certainly missed Bobby Portis’ tenacity on the glass as the Clippers were able to corral 13 offensive rebounds which led to a multitude of second-chance points. Brook Lopez grabbed one rebound in 22 minutes...more on him later.
Regardless of the final score, Jrue Holiday played his ass off. Tasked with guarding Kawhi Leonard on Monday, he did an admiral job and forced the Klaw into tough shots and also forced multiple turnovers. I am sure he was a little extra amped as he was making a homecoming, but this is what we are getting every night from Jrue. He is always going to bring his hard hat and go to work. He played 35 minutes and added 24 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
Brook Lopez was horrendous...and that might be a compliment! He picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and disappeared after that. Granted, having both Portis and P.J. Tucker out is not optimal but some of the gaffes he made throughout the loss stuck out like a sore thumb. Constantly late on defensive rotations, getting outmuscled on the glass, and being a non-factor offensively. Again, not having those two bigs off the bench at their disposal puts Lopez in a tough situation since there is no one there to stagger his minutes. Regardless, the issues stated above with Brook have been recurring throughout the year even though he has played a bit better since the All-Star break. He finished with seven points in 22 minutes while finishing minus-14.
The Bucks desperately needed Khris Middleton to step-up but he was relatively quiet in the loss. It was hard to tell he was even out there on the floor with how little he was being used. My biggest issue is that Middleton passed up on open looks but opted to dribble into a tougher two-pointer when being defended by Marcus Morris Sr. The Clippers will always be a bad matchup for Khris due to the fact that he will deal with Kawhi Leonard, but on Monday, I was especially displeased that neither he nor coach Budenholzer took advantage of when Khris was matched up against Luke Kennard. No disrespect to Kennard, but that’s an easy bucket for him due to the height advantage. On the other end of the floor, Middleton was getting cooked by Marcus Morris which is a painful sentence to type. He scored 15 points (minus-28) and his counterpart in Morris dropped 25 (plus-30). Getting outplayed by a Morris twin will surely result in a loss 100% of the time.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came out of this game healthy, and that’s all that matters. Nursing a knee injury, it would be fair to question why Antetokounmpo suited up tonight, but I am sure he would attempt to play even if he was missing all of his limbs. Anyways, while his 32/6/3 line looks decent, he left a lot of points out there on the floor. It was an odd game offensively for him because his jumper was working early but whenever he got to the rim, he just couldn’t finish. Very unlike Giannis to miss so many bunnies because he typically finishes with authority but that was not the case last night. Perhaps a lingering side effect from the injury? I also did not enjoy him trying to force-feed Thanasis offensively and passing up open lanes to the basket. One positive from an otherwise largely negative game was that he shot 10-12 from the foul line and is up to 74.1 percent over his last 10 games. We’re not going to see him finish minus-31 very often, though.
Giannis against Los Angeles:— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 30, 2021
32 PTS | 6 REB | 3 AST pic.twitter.com/uXRlcbf3uJ
I asked Jrue Holiday if a sense of urgency starts to build as the playoffs approach:— Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) March 30, 2021
"I think it starts now, especially being on this road trip which is a tough one. It's way we can get into a groove and see what we are made of....I'm excited, this is what we play for."
Khris Middleton said that while they won’t let the game fester, having been pulled off the court while trailing big as starters doesn’t feel too great. #Bucks— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) March 30, 2021
- Donte DiVincenzo was awful. He was all over the place in the worst way possible and attacked the basket (which is great!) but just doesn’t have the confidence to finish in traffic.
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo was the first Buck off the bench and was serviceable. In fact, he stripped the ball from Kawhi Leonard in the first quarter and finished the possession with a nice lay-in. He also freed himself with some nice footwork in the post against Leonard but failed to finish that look. Opposing teams might laugh when he checks into the game, but he plays extremely hard and has earned his role...regardless if he’s playing one or 19 minutes. He finished with seven points and three fouls. A very Thanasis-like line!
- Mamadi Diakite first-quarter minutes? Diakite first-quarter minutes! That was pretty much it, though. He played nine minutes and scored two points and hauled in one rebound. With how awful Brook was, I would have liked to see him play a few more minutes. Oh well.
- Luke Kennard (21) and Reggie Jackson (20) scored way too many points for my liking.
- Terrance Mann has a bright future for the Clippers, he changed the complexion of the game off the bench by dropping 14/6/6 while finishing plus-19.
- LA made 19 threes compared to only 11 for Milwaukee.
- This game was not worth staying up for, so kudos to all who caught some z’s early!