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Clippers-Bucks preview: Eastern foes prove worthy

The Clippers' last stop on this three-game trip lands them in Milwaukee, the land of beer and the Bucks. Let's see which has more hops!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hah! Get it? Erm, anyway, back to what I was saying:

2014/2015 NBA Regular Season

December 13th, 2014, 4:30 PM
BMO Harris Bradley Center
Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Win-Loss Breakdown
6-2 East 8-8
10-4 West 3-4
8-3 Home 6-4
8-3 Road 5-8
5-5 .500+ 1-8
11-1 .500- 10-4
9-1 L10 4-6
Probable Starters
Chris Paul PG Brandon Knight
J.J. Redick SG Giannis Antetokounmpo
Matt Barnes SF O.J. Mayo
Blake Griffin PF Jabari Parker
DeAndre Jordan C Larry Sanders
Advanced Stats
96.14 (12th of 30) Pace 96.24 (11th of 30)
110.9 (3rd of 30) ORtg 101.2 (21st of 30)
102.7 (11th of 30) DRtg 102.1 (10th of 30)
Chris Douglas-Roberts (Achilles) probable
Ersan Ilyasova (nasal fracture) out

Reggie Bullock (ankle) probable

John Henson (foot) out
Spencer Hawes (knee) doubtful
Johnny O'Bryant (knee) out

The Back Story (The Clippers swept the Bucks 2-0 last season):

Date Venue Final Recap Box
1/27/14 Milwaukee LAC 114 MIL 86 Recap Box
3/24/14 Los Angeles MIL 98 LAC 106 Recap Box

The Big Picture:

You might look at a three-game Eastern Conference road trip on the schedule and think, "Meh." Then you watch the Clippers play these games and think, "Oh, that's right. The NBA."

First, they had to gnaw their way to a win against the Indiana Pacers. Now, the Clippers look to bounce back after suffering a frustrating loss at the hands of the feisty Washington Wizards, who held Blake Griffin to 14 points and just two rebounds and suckered Chris Paul into six turnovers. Big man Spencer Hawes suffered a knee injury in the loss as well, and according to reports, it looks like he'll miss a few days worth of action. The good news there is that the X-rays were negative--the bad news is that this "bruise" the Clippers training staff described did not come as a result of contact, but from landing awkwardly and twisting the knee. My ligaments hurt just thinking about it. The jury is still out on the extent of Hawes' injury, but count on the elite (not to mention good-looking) staff here at Clips Nation to keep you updated on our flaxen-haired forward's health.

Nevertheless, the Clippers have won nine of their last 10 and have seen Blake Griffin emerge as the team's clear-cut leader. The Milwaukee Bucks might seem like a nice, docile opponent to soothe the sting from last night's loss, but as we've learned on this trip, anything can happen.

The Antagonist:

With new head coach Jason Kidd at the helm and their shiny new second-overall pick Jabari Parker on the floor, the young and hungry Bucks have carved out a nice season for themselves so far. At 11-12, the Bucks are good enough for sixth in the East, but have had to contend with a few injuries of late. Forward Ersan Ilyasova suffered a nasal fracture and concussion against the Cavaliers, and has missed the subsequent four (five counting tonight) games. The poor guy can't even get outfitted with a mask yet because his face is too swollen. Rookie forward Johnny O'Bryant has missed the entire season thus far after spraining an MCL in the preseason, and the only good thing about center John Henson's foot injury is that it's called a "dancer's sprain," which is actually kind of cute. Needless to say, the Bucks are thin up front at the moment, but they pack plenty of firepower among their guards. Brandon Knight is probably younger than your favorite pair of shorts, and leads the Bucks with 17.2 points and and 5.7 assists per game.

The Subplots:

  • A comparison of key metrics. The Clippers and Bucks are about as close as they can get in terms of pace and defensive rating, with the Bucks getting a one-spot edge in each category. But despite that decent defensive rating, Milwaukee has given up an average of 108 points per game over their last five. And in terms of scoring the ball, the Clippers are leaps and bounds ahead of these youngsters.
  • 2nd B2B. Your Los Angeles Clippers are 5-0 so far this season on the second night of a back-to-back. And as luck would have it, tonight is indeed the second night of a back-to-back for LAC. Four of those W's came on the road.
  • No more kidding around on defense. Coach Jason Kidd opted to have what Jared Dudley called a "training camp-like" practice yesterday, which focused mainly on defensive fundamentals. The Bucks started this season as a top-10 defensive team, but have been giving up well over 100 points of late.
  • USC v. UCLA. Southern California product O.J. Mayo and lovable Bruin Matt Barnes will square off against each other at the 3-spot tonight. Of course, Mayo and Barnes missed each other by five years in college, but who doesn't love a little college rivalry spice mixed in with their delicious NBA basketball?
  • Grab a pint. Get the Bucks' perspective over at Brew Hoop.
  • Connections. Everyone's favorite former Clipper great, Jared Dudley, is currently coming off the bench for the Bucks. After being traded away from Orlando and before the three-team deal that brought him to the Clippers, J.J. Redick was briefly a Buck near the end of the 2013 season.
  • Wikipedia. Buck, and also mule, are slightly antiquated names for a family of historic mixed drinks that involve ginger ale or ginger beer, citrus juice, and any of a number of base liquors.
  • Ah, memories. Remember that time DeAndre Jordan was very, very rude to Brandon Knight? Of course you do. Shall we reminisce? Of course we shall!