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Milwaukee 107 - Clippers 89 - Clippers Caught Off Guard

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The Clippers got triple-doubles from their three tallest players tonight - 20 and 11 from Drew Gooden, 17 and 11 from Chris Kaman and 11 and 13 from DeAndre Jordan.  Their next tallest player, Travis Outlaw, managed 13 points, but he shot only 3 for 10 in doing so.  After that, no one scored more than 10, and the players under 6'10" collectively made only 13 field goals on 47 attempts.  That's less than 28%.  The Bucks play good defense, I'll give them some credit.  But no one plays that good of defense.

The Clipper guards were sub-terrible tonight, led by Eric Gordon, who is exactly the guy we wanted to lead them, only in the other direction.  When I'm feeling particularly unenthusiastic about the lack of progress in EJ's game this season, I take a little comfort in looking at his overall stats - the fact is, he's more or less at the same level of productivity this season as last.  In fact, were it not for his drop off in free throw shooting, he'd actually be scoring more efficiently this season measured by total shooting percentage, and as I've pointed out many times, it's his scoring efficiency that makes him special.  Of course, his 08-09 averages are depressed by a month or so where he was playing sparingly, and we wanted (deserved?) some improvement from the just turned 21 year old.  We didn't get that.  He's had far fewer dominant scoring games this season (four so far with 16 or more shots, 50% shooting and 20 or more points versus eleven such games in his rookie season) and more clunkers (14 games this season making less than 35% while taking at least 10 shots, versus only eight last season).

Tonight was one of those clunkers.  He shot 2 for 13, and really struggled just to get off shots.  Again, credit the Bucks defense for some of that.  EJ was also auditioning as a backup point guard in the absence of Baron Davis.  So was that experiment a complete failure?  I'd actually say the jury is out - Gordon failed first and foremost as a SHOOTING guard tonight.  Was part of that the added pressure of handling the ball more?  Perhaps, but he wasn't nearly as awful distributing as he was shooting (6 assists, 3 turnovers). 

It's off to Toronto now where the Clippers face the Raptors on the second night of back to back games.  I'm actually feeling pretty ill right now, and will not be writing a preview tonight.  Hopefully I'll be able to get one out there some time before tip off tomorrow.