In just his second game after missing most of two with a sprained ankle, JJ Redick shook off the rust and led the Clippers to a 109-95 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Redick scored 31 points, 15 in a key third quarter run that brought him within 1 point of his one-quarter career high, and looked miles better than he did Monday night in Minnesota.
Of Redick's 6 three-pointers, perhaps none was more satisfying than the one he drilled off a missed free throw/offensive rebound after the Bucks turned to the Hack-A midway through the fourth quarter.
Trailing by 11 with 5 minutes remaining in the game, the Bucks made a last ditch attempt to close a game they had kept disappointingly close through the first half. Michael Carter-Williams, who finished with 20 points and 11 assists, led a Milwaukee bench unit that torched its Clipper counterparts and was primarily responsible for the 1-point lead the home team took into halftime.
The dichotomy between the Clippers' starting and bench units is often severe, and was particularly so tonight. The core four Clipper starters each finished better than +20 in plus/minus and battered the Milwaukee starters to undo the damage done by a group of reserves that largely continues to struggle. Paul finished with 18 points and a ridiculous 18 assists. Griffin missed some shots he'll usually make, but worked his way to a tidy 21/14/4 line.
The Clippers did two things well tonight that they've seldom done this season: score in transition and make shots from deep. They scored 19 fast break points and converted 42.9% of their 3-point attempts, which combined with a 24 free throw advantage to overcome a Bucks team that used its superior length and athleticism to goad the stingy Clippers into 14 turnovers.
That superior length and athleticism was paired with a youthful exuberance that came with a cost. The heavy free-throw discrepancy came even before Coach Jason Kidd began sending DeAndre to the line. Milwaukee's aggressive defense was disruptive, but overly physical, and the veteran Clippers took advantage.
For the Bucks, Greg Monroe had a solid game excepting two major lowlights. In the second quarter, he was caught not paying attention and took a pass off his head. Of course, he may still have been thinking about this first quarter play:
DeAndre Jordan gave Greg Monroe the business. https://t.co/AX1S84P20T— Clips Nation (@ClipsNationSBN) December 10, 2015
DeAndre Jordan Brandon Knighted Greg Monroe all over the Milwaukee home floor. Jordan owned Monroe on the boards as well, finishing with 19 rebounds to the Buck big man's 10.
The Clipper starters carried a heavy load tonight, both in minutes and production. They earned a hard-fought road win, but we'll have to wait to see if it takes a toll on their legs as they get back to it tomorrow night in Chicago.
Not every Clipper reserve struggled. Josh Smith hit timely shots, moved well on offense, and was steady on defense... Doc Rivers sent DeAndre out with the reserves at the beginning of the second quarter, and the Bucks went on a run. Doc sent Blake out to begin the fourth, and the Clippers did a better job keeping the offense humming to hold serve... Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is getting the Willie Green treatment. He starts each half but never returns after being pulled.