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Clippers at Milwaukee - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Bradley Center
March 30th, 2010, 5:00 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Steve Blake
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:

March 17, 2010 in LA, Clippers 101 - Bucks 93 -  Recap  Box Score

The Big Picture:

The loss to Golden State Sunday was probably the most embarrassing loss in a season with many contenders to choose from.  I mean, there are certainly some beauties out there - and I suppose the fact that the Clippers cut a 19 point half time lead down to 9 early in the fourth counts for something - as opposed to say the loss in Oakland where they never even pushed back.  But playing at home, against such a depleted (and just plain bad) team.  I think it gets the nod.  On the heels of that gem, the Clippers begin their final extended road trip of the season with a trip to Milwaukee, where the playoff bound Bucks will be looking to exact a little vengeance after losing to the Clippers earlier this month.  Baron Davis and his gimpy back did not make the trip, leaving Steve Blake to run the team.  Blake should actually be fine - but when he takes a rest and the ball goes into the hands of Bobby Brown or Mardy Collins, that's when you need to worry.  

The Antagonist:

Playoff bound Bucks.  Did I really just type that?  I still find it hard to believe.   Chris Sheridan calls them the team that no one in the Eastern Conference wants to face in the playoffs on today.  Of course, the one time I saw them this year, they lost to the Clippers, so as far as I'm concerned they pretty much suck.  Andrew Bogut is a quality center who does a lot of things well, and Brandon Jennings is an explosive scorer as evidenced by his 16 third quarter points the last time he played the Clippers.  But seriously, the talent level drops off pretty quickly after that, and when your team depth depends heavily on 35 year old Jerry Stackhouse and 37 year old Kurt Thomas, it's not a good sign.  You can rest assured that Scott Skiles will have his team ready for this game tonight, after they lost to the Clippers two weeks ago, especially considering the way they fell apart in the fourth quarter.

The Subplots

  • Delfino hurting.  Carlos Delfino missed the Bucks' last game, Sunday versus Memphis, with a sore neck.  He also missed the first Clippers-Bucks game, that time with a sore ankle.  I don't really know whether he'll play tonight or not.  If Delfino doesn't play, Charlie Bell will likely start in his stead.
  • Baron's Back.  That is possessive, as in "the back of Baron", not a contraction, as in "Baron is back."  Is Baron really hurt, or is he just shutting it down for the rest of the season because there's no reason not to?  Well, Baron's really hurtin', that much is certain.  But there's also no reason not to shut it down.  For all the talk of Baron's injury prone-ness (proneousity?  pronitude?  pronity?), he's actually been one of the most reliable Clippers since he's been in LA.  Going into today's game, he's played in 71 of 73 games, second only to Rasual Butler, and he leads the team in minutes played.  He played in 65 games last season, which is more than many of his teammates.  There's really no reason for him to play in pain with 9 games left in a lost season.  Let's see what Steve Blake can do with the first unit.
  • Speaking of which.  I think there's still a contingent of citizens who think that Blake is 'better' than Baron, or that he runs the team better, or something.  I guess we'll find out something about that this week.  I will say that Baron was very effective scoring against Jennings in the first meeting, posting the frail rookie.  Blake won't do that, but he probably is a better matchup to defend Jennings on the other end.
  • Kaman's slump.  Chris Kaman has scored fewer than 10 points only six times this season - four of those have been in the last seven games.  His minutes have been dwindling lately as well, with 25 last Thursday and 21 Sunday representing his season lows in non-blowouts.  Whether he's losing minutes because of a lack of effort, or because of a lack of productivity, or because Kim Hughes simply wants to get him more rest, is debateable. 
  • It's late in the season.  I wrote a whole lot about the Bucks less than two weeks ago, and I'm getting pretty burnt out on this damn Clippers team, so I think I'm done with this preview.  Go read the last preview if you want more on the Bucks.  It still applies for the most part.
  • TV Quote: 

    I'm actor Troy McClure. You might remember me from such TV series as "Buck Henderson, Union Buster" and "Troy and Company's Summertime Smile Factory". Today I'm here to tell you about "Spiffy.", the 21st century stain remover. Let's meet the inventor, Dr. Nick Riviera.

    Troy McClure, The Simpsons, Saturdays of Thunder (1991).  I love the Troy McClure character, and the late Phil Hartman was great as the voice.  I miss Troy McClure.  His performance as the human in the Broadway-style musical version of Planet of the Apes was Tony-worthy.  Not to mention his performance in "Buck Henderson, Union Buster."  
  • Get the Bucks perspective at Brew Hoop.