"I won't have six turnovers again tomorrow night, I can tell you that much."
Chris Paul uttered those fateful words after his less-than-stellar performance against the Washington Wizards last night, and I hate to be the one to tell you all this--but Chris Paul is a liar!
Six turnovers was exactly what he had tonight, and an athletic Milwaukee Bucks squad took full advantage.
Tonight was a real battle between the Clippers starters and the bench. After the starters built a nice lead for themselves in the first quarter, the subs entered the game in the second and promptly erased that effort. Spencer Hawes missed the game because of the knee injury he suffered last night, but never fear! Chris Douglas-Roberts was back in action tonight for the first time since November 5th. In what may be the most CDR move ever, Douglas-Roberts drove the lane for a layup at the end of the shot clock, only to have the bucket erased after a later review determined it came after the buzzer.
The Bucks played some hard, chippy basketball all night long, causing a plethora of turnovers and and jump balls, and frustrating the Clippers all the while. Khris Middleton tied Blake Griffin up in a lose ball battle that nearly turned into a genuine scuffle between the two, and Matt Barnes threw a hard foul Giannis Antetokounmpo's way, which resulted in a technical foul for Giannis (and Barnes earned himself one a few plays later). The Bucks took the lead against the Clippers reserves in the second quarter and never really looked back, despite the Clippers briefly reclaiming the lead off a Jamal Crawford three-ball in the third.
Antetokounmpo (thank you copy & paste) finished with 20 points on 8-11 shooting, while big man Larry Sanders shot 7-9 from the field for 15 points. Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with 22, oh, and did I mention the Bucks shot 57%? Because they did. They also had 50 points in the paint.
The Bucks only had a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but they decimated the Clippers bench once again and built up a 12-point advantage in the final period. Matt Barnes did his darndest to get the Clippers this win though, offering up a season-high 26 points. The Clips cut it to five with three minutes to play and kept it interesting until the end, but as I mentioned before: 57% from the field. 50 points in the paint. Goodnight, Clippers.
J.J. Redick scored 25 points and Crawford added 17 off the bench. Blake Griffin struggled with double teams mightily tonight, scoring only 10 on 4-12 shooting. The Bucks threw double teams his way all night, and the Clippers simply couldn't adjust. The Clippers have now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, but will look to turn that around in the comfort of home Monday against the Detroit Pistons.