It’s been a minute since the Milwaukee Bucks went out west for some basketball games, and the end of that trip came against the Los Angeles Clippers last night. Fortunately, the Bucks’ win streak did not come to an end, as they earned their 10th straight victory with a double-digit win, 119-106.
Tonight was actually a somewhat sloppy performance. There were all sorts of valid reasons why – no Khris Middleton (injury management), the second night of a back-to-back, the last game of a road trip – but the unforced errors presented the Clippers with several extra possessions that the Bucks couldn’t afford to give away. As the game continued, Milwaukee pounded the glass and found that to be their path to succeed over a smaller (and short-handed) opponent, and Los Angeles just couldn’t keep up.
Giannis Antetokounmpo started off in attack mode from the get-go, driving into Ivica Zubac at every opportunity. The Greek Freak ended up with 35 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Zubac forced a few uncharacteristic point-blank misses early but as is often the case, Giannis got into his groove, scoring the first 8 points for Milwaukee. Throughout the game, Giannis would target Zubac on drives and absolutely lay his shoulder into the burly center’s chest, seeking to create contact and wear the opponent down. But what was more interesting was that Giannis consistently mixed in his hook shot in the post. It wasn’t all dunks and layups; a number of his paint baskets came on back-to-the-basket shots! A few attempts were left short, but as he hones that move and adds it to his arsenal, it could become a useful counter when the defense ratchets up.
Brook Lopez was huge in this one, logging 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks on the night. He, like Giannis, was in the zone almost immediately, notching a double-double in the first half (16 points, 12 boards). He contributed while Giannis was off the floor by hitting a number of shots inside and outside while collecting a few blocks for good measure. He was remarkably active on the boards by his standards; usually, Lopez is content to use his massive frame to block out opponents and allow a teammate (often Giannis) to swoop in for the rebound. Today, he was going up strong with two hands pretty regularly, and there was no one on the Clippers who would deny him.
Grayson Allen didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but he had a fairly interesting outing. For much of the night, Allen took the Paul George assignment, likely as an experiment since George was the only major player available for LA with Kawhi Leonard sitting out. The risk of things going horribly wrong against the short-handed Clippers was low, so it was curious to see Allen so much time checking PG-13. Even more shocking is that George struggled with the matchups he faced, managing only 19 points on 23 shots for the night. Much has been made of Grayson Allen’s defensive development this season, and if tonight is any indication, that story might not be a tall tale.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Jrue Holiday had a shot attempt bounce into a wedgie. He was not pleased.
Wedgie Alert pic.twitter.com/UmVobgxe0g— Paul Henning (@brewcitypaul) February 11, 2023
- I feel like I’ll never get used to Joe Ingles’ funky shot mechanics. It looks like he has his guide hand on top of the ball, and his arc is somehow higher than most with that right hand sitting on the ball. But it goes in pretty often, so who am I to question that?
- Tonight, Wes Matthews wore bright neon yellow shoes, Jevon Carter had on one white and one bold yellow shoe, and MarJon Beauchamp wore bright neon blue sneakers. It was quite the visual experience.
- Speaking of everyone’s favorite rookie, the BlogFather himself has some thoughts on how Beauchamp navigates picks:
MarJon when he hits a screen pic.twitter.com/Glk51LgBdk— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) February 11, 2023
- Paul George hit a shot in the third quarter that put him over 16,000 career points. Quite an accomplishment…except the Jumbotron in the stadium announcing that he reached that mark displayed “15,000” points. Can’t win ‘em all!
- Not long after, Lisa Byington and Marques Johnson remarked after a Brook Lopez three-point make that Brook became the oldest player in NBA history to log 100 blocks and 100 three-point makes in the same season. What a weird stat, but congrats anyways Brook!
- Pat Connaughton hit a nasty step-back three during the Bucks’ run to put a stranglehold on the lead in this game. It’s a rare individual highlight for Planet Pat, and one worth watching for his teammate’s reactions:
Sheesh, Pat. pic.twitter.com/do6u2cAVLZ— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 11, 2023
- Jevon Carter got called for some awfully-iffy fouls against Norm Powell in this one. It’s the sort of thing that drives players (and coaches, and fans) nuts but it’s unlikely to change, especially on the other team’s home court.
- During a timeout in the fourth quarter, Bucks sideline reporter Zora Stevenson shared a story about having a gentleman hold the door to the media room open for her before the game. That gentleman? Denzel Washington. Los Angeles really is a unique place.
- In the fourth quarter, MarJon Beauchamp had a runway for a dunk at the rim, but was fouled and the dunk didn’t go down. Later in the game, the rookie had a breakaway dunk that he threw down and hung on the rim for a moment, and his teammates loved it. Too much, in fact.
Giannis Antetokounmpo just got the Bucks' bench a technical foul celebrating that MarJon Beauchamp dunk.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) February 11, 2023
He was quite excited for his rookie.
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