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Clippers vs. Milwaukee - Open Thread

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Staples Center
March 17th, 2010, 7:30 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Brandon Jennings
Eric Gordon SG John Salmons
Rasual Butler
SF Carlos Delfino
Drew Gooden
PF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Chris Kaman
C Andrew Bogut

The Back Story:

First meeting of the season (really?) The teams split their two meetings last season.

First Quarter Notes:

First of all, did you guys catch Blake Griffin's suit tonight? Very nice. The kid knows how to dress.

The first quarter, it seemed as if neither team could miss. In the end, Milwaukee ended up at 52%, while the Clippers were a blistering 65%. So why was it tied? Good question. The Bucks parlayed two fewer turnovers and three more offensive rebounds into six extra shots, and that's that.

Both teams rode a couple of hot hands. For the Bucks, it was Andrew Bogut early, who scored ten of their first 16, while John Salmons had the other six early.

For the Clippers, Baron Davis started out with ten at the start of the quarter, and Chris Kaman had ten at the end of the quarter. Of their 27, Eric Gordon had the other seven.

Kaman made 5 of 6 in the quarter, and I'm sure you were all thinking the same thing I was thinking: where was that on Monday?

Second Quarter Notes:

While three Clipper starters scored all of their 27 points in the first quarter, in the second quarter the second unit came in and did a great job. Craig Smith, DeAndre Jordan, Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw all played well and with terrific energy. Blake and Outlaw even connected on their second ex-Blazer Oop in two games. I like the ex-Blazer Oop. We should do that more often.

The Bucks backups couldn't match the Clippers second teams' energy. Kurt Thomas drew three fouls in six minutes on Kurt Thomas.

The Bucks cooled off from the field, while the Clippers stayed just as hot... consequently, the Clippers built the lead to as many as 10.

Most encouraging of all, the Clippers defense stopped Milwaukee dead on the final two possessions of the half - resulting in two desperation heaves as the shot clock expired. The Clippers have not shown the ability to get stops at important moments in recent weeks, so it was very good to see.

Eric Gordon and Baron Davis each got good looks at threes in the last two possessions which could have resulted in a larger lead, but each missed and LA had to settle for a nine point half time lead - we'll take it.

Bogut was held to only two points in the second quarter after his 10 point first quarter outburst.

In the battle at the point guard, Baron Davis is schooling Brandon Jennings. Baron has 12, almost all of them coming against the rookie. His last two cam on that old vet move, sweeping the arms through the defenders arms - the shot went in and the foul. Kevin has a theory that Baron gets motivated against the young guns, especially the LA guys, and there may be something to that. Without looking it up, it does seem that Baron has looked good this season against the likes of Restbwook, Collison and now Jennings.

Skiles is probably seconds from a fatal aneurism as I type over the Clippers 60% first half shooting. You can rest assured that the Bucks will come out motivated in the second half - either that, or Skiles will get someone else in. One would like to have a bigger lead than nine after outshooting an opponent 61% to 44% - but that's picking nits.

Halftime score: Clippers 52 - Bucks 43.

Third Quarter Notes:

Brandon Jennings seems to have decided that he did not like me talking bad about him in the first half. He has scored 10 points in a little over 6 second half minutes. The Clippers start the second half red hot themselves, but after stretching the lead out to 14, a couple of Jennings' threes cut it down to 8. The very next possession after Jennings' back to back threes, the Bucks run a play to get him another one - but Bogut gets called for an illegal screen. They really wanted to go to him again. The kid has no fear and no conscious, as you might have guessed from his 55 point game in the first few weeks of his pro career.

During the third quarter kiss cam, a guy gets down on one knee in section 116... and they cut away just as he was about to propose. She said yes.

The Clippers scored 15 points in the first 5:30 of the third quarter... and 2 points in the final 6:30. This did not help their scoreboard situation. The Bucks close the quarter on an 18-2 run to take a 2 point lead into the fourth. Mr. Jennings scores 14 of the Bucks final 20 and 16 in the quarter on an array of tough jumpers and runners. Wow.

Fourth Quarter Notes:

The good news after only three minutes gone by in the fourth quarter is that the Clippers have regained a six point lead, and that team fouls are four against the Bucks, zero against the Clippers. Getting into the bonus and to the line down the stretch in this game could be the difference. As in the second quarter, the Clippers' second unit has outplayed that of the Bucks.

Clippers are playing a lot of zone in the fourth - and frankly, they're dodging bullets. The Bucks have gotten some open corner threes and missed them.

I HOPE Kim Hughes' substitutions at 7:05 don't come back to haunt him. The second unit is plus 10 in the quarter, and playing inspired defense when Hughes comes back with Kaman and Baron. I like Kaman and Baron, and they've played well in the game... but why the rush? Wouldn't you wait at least until a minor momentum shift? The unit was literally in the midst of a 12-2 run - why mess with it?

Kaman hits a jumper late in the shot clock a few possessions after coming in to make me look silly, and make Hughes look like a genius.

The Clippers go with a three guard lineup for a stretch with Outlaw at the four - I like it. The team has been crazy active on defense in the fourth quarter. They must have 10 deflections this quarter alone.

When the Bucks get a layup on a broken play just inside the three minute mark, the lead is down to six. Kim Hughes, sensing that this is a crucial point in the game calls a timeout. Out of the time out, the Clippers get a layup for Kaman - as they say, just the way they drew it up. It's a huge bucket. It's 18th points of the game. A few moments later, he adds a couple of free throws to add to his all time NBA record of 20wo30s.

The Clippers are going to win. See you in a bit with a quick recap.