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Clippers at Milwaukee - Game Preview and Open Thread

2008/2009 NBA Regular Season
Bradley Center
December 20th, 2008, 5:30 PM
KTLA Channel 5
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Luke Ridnour
Eric Gordon SG Michael Redd
Al Thornton SF Richard Jefferson
Zach Randolph PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Marcus Camby C Andrew Bogut

The Big Picture:

The Clippers come to the end of a four games in five nights road trip in Milwaukee. As if that schedule wasn't tough enough, they decided to play one extra period in their loss to Chicago on Wednesday and two extra frames in their win in Indianapolis last night. Coupled with the fact that the bench has not been very helpful lately, and the Clippers' starters have got to be feeling pretty tired right now. They all played between 48 and 50 minutes last night, which has never happened before in the shot clock era. Zach Randolph for one does not appear to be fatigued, as he remains almost unstoppable. He has scored 30 or more in four of his last five games, including 34 last night. He's also shooting well over 50% as a Clipper. A win tonight would give the Clippers 3 wins in the 4 games of the road trip, with the sole loss being in overtime. Perhaps we hoped for a 4-0 trip, but 3-1 is pretty good. We know that the Indiana game should never have been that close, but a 3-1 trip is a 3-1 trip. Baron Davis needs to start making a few more shots - the Clippers can't win many games with him shooting under 30% as he has in the last two games.

The Antagonist:

I know next to nothing about the Bucks. They have three new starters this season: Luke Ridnour at the point, acquired in the three team deal in which they sent Mo Williams to Cleveland; Richard Jefferson, acquired from New Jersey in the deal that sent Yi Jianlin east; and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a second round draft pick from UCLA who has beaten out Charlie Villanueva for the starting power forward job. These three join the Bucks established players: Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut. They've had some injuries in the early part of the season, notably to Redd (14 games) and Bogut (3 games). But everyone is back now, and they've won 3 of 4 (though not against the greatest competition). As you might expect, Redd leads them in scoring at almost 20 per game, and Jefferson is close behind at 18. But if you can stop those two, I'm not sure where they're going to find points.

The Subplots

  • Stopping Redd. Eric Gordon will draw one of the tougher assignments of his young career when he goes against Michael Redd. Redd is a scorer - he can shoot from outside, he can drive to the basket, he shots a variety of shots and scores a variety of ways. He's also got one of the quickest releases in the NBA. Gordon will have to stay home on him, take his space on the perimeter, and still try to stay in front of him. Not an easy task.
    Stopping Z-Bo. On the other end, rookie Mbah a Moute will have his hands full with Zach Randolph. Clipper fans may be interested to know that LRMaM is the guy who got Elton Brand to fall on him and separate his shoulder. But Zach doesn't jump that high. Zach's going to be licking his chops to be going at a rookie in this game; even one who played defense for Ben Howland.
    Ramon Sessions. This will be my first chance to watch Ramon Sessions as a pro, and I'm looking forward to it. A second round pick in 2007, he was the college teammate of Nick Fazekas at Nevada, but Fazekas was far and away the star of that team. Sessions spent most of last season in the D-League, but when he came up to the big club late in the season, he just tore it up, including a 24 assist game in the next to the last game. His minutes have been dropping lately, but I still want to see what all the fuss is about.
    Superstar for one game. I'm going to go with Sessions. Baron's tired, and several lightly regarded point guards have really lit him up this season. (By the way, I was almost right last night. I consider Ford and Jack, who both had big games, before dismissing them. And the guy I picked ended up in the hospital with some infection, so I can hardly be blamed for that.)
    Get the Bucks perspective at Brew Hoop.