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Clippers Finish Strong, Beat Bucks 105-98

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Despite a dismal 3rd Quarter, the Clippers pull off a big win at Staples.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers hosted the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday evening, and in a fun to watch contest, emerged victorious. It looked a little like this.

Playoff Implications

The Clippers’ victory over the Bucks keeps the squad in contention for playoff seeding, particularly since the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs all lost their Tuesday match-ups. The Clippers are now one loss ahead of the Nuggets, one loss behind the Minnesota Timberwolves and two losses behind the Utah Jazz, Spurs and Pelicans. Closing out the season the Clippers face the Nuggets, Jazz, Spurs and Pelicans, so put on your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Here is how the win over the Bucks went down.

Starting Five

The Clippers started the game with Milos Teodosic, Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson, Tobias Harris and DeAndre Jordan.

The Bucks started Eric Bledsoe, Jason Terry, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson.

First Quarter

Throughout the season the Clippers have hobbled out of the gate, with poor first quarter performances. Not tonight. The Clippers shot 53% percent from the field in the first quarter, going 14 for 28 from the field and 7 for 11 from 3-point range.

Milos Teodosic was particularly on fire, hitting four 3-pointers in the quarter. Wesley Johnson contributed two more, and Austin Rivers drained one.

Despite the hot shooting, the Clippers only led by six at quarter’s end: 35-29.

Second Quarter

In the second quarter the Clippers continued their effectiveness on offense and were able to extend their lead to 16. The importance of having Milos on the floor was glaringly apparent when he was on the bench early on to rest. Without a true point guard on the floor, the Clippers struggled to create offense. Luckily, Doc recognized the issue and put Milos back on the court, which immediately opened up opportunities for teammates like Lou Williams and Sindarius Thornwell.

And then there was this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What? How did he? Clearly, the Serb has eyes in back of his head.

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly given the Clippers’ luck this season), Milos went down with a foot injury with just under two minutes left in the second quarter and headed back to the locker room. He would not return. It has since been reported that Teodosic experienced a flare up of his nagging plantar fasciitis injury. Teodosic will have an MRI tomorrow.

The Clippers did lose some steam and rhythm at the end of the half and their lead was whittled down to six. The half ended with the Clippers on top 62-56.

Stats at the Half

Field Goal Percentage: Clippers 50%, Bucks 49%

3 Point Shots: Clippers 8/14, Bucks 5/14

Free Throws: Clippers 6/11, Bucks 9/11

Rebounds: Clippers 23, Bucks 20

Points in the Paint: Clippers 28, Bucks 26

Stat leaders for Los Angeles:

  • Milos Teodosic: 13 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 block
  • Tobias Harris: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
  • Lou Williams: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
  • DeAndre Jordan: 7 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block
  • Wes Johnson, Sindarius Thornwell, and Montrezl Harrell: 6 points each

Third Quarter

The third quarter was a bit of a disaster. The Clippers were successful containing Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first half, limiting him to only 8 points, but lost defensive focus in the third. The Greek Freak broke loose, scoring 10 points in the frame. The Bucks ended the quarter on a 9-0 run, including back-to-back baskets by Tyler Zeller that gave them their first lead since the opening bucket of the game.

The Clippers’ defense was lagging, and their offense was struggling. At one point Doc screamed “WAKE UP” at the players on the floor. It was bad. No sense of urgency whatsoever.

At the end of three the Clippers trailed the Bucks 82-78, and exhibited no momentum heading into the 4th.

Final Frame

The fourth quarter did not start off promising. A couple of questionable calls from the referees and the Clippers were out of fouls with approximately 10 minutes still left on the clock. Not the greatest position to be in to launch a comeback. However, comeback they did, behind a 13-0 run and six 3-pointers by four different players.

The magic started with a little bit of Boban Marjanović ...

A dash of Austin Rivers (who had 10 points in the quarter) ...

And a whole lot of Tobias Harris.

At the final buzzer the Clippers were on top 105 - 98. A vital win at this point in the season.

The Clippers were led by Tobias Harris (19 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals); Lou Williams (16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal); Austin Rivers (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal), Milos Teodosic (13 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists) and DeAndre Jordan (12 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists).

The Bucks were led by Antetokounmpo, who scored 26 points, and Khris Middleton, who added 22.

Post-Game Notes & Takeaways

  • The Clippers are now 9-3 against the Bucks dating back to the 2011-12 season, including two wins to sweep this season’s series.
  • With the G-league wrapping up its regular season, the Clippers welcomed back C.J. Williams and Tyrone Wallace to the lineup. Clippers fans had not seen the two fan favorites since their two-way contracts expired earlier in the season. Although neither player had significant impact in Tuesday’s contest it is good to have them back in the rotation. The Clippers will have both players for the remainder of the regular season, and have the option of keeping one of the players for the playoffs, conditioned on execution of an NBA contract.
  • Tobias Harris is hot! Harris has scored 20+ points in 32 games this season, Including 8 of the last 15 and 12 of his 24 games with the Clippers. He fell one point short of 20 tonight, but has been making major contributions consistently to this team.
  • The impact of losing Milos has yet to be seen. More on that story as it develops.

Coming Up:

The Clippers travel to Arizona to face the Phoenix Suns tomorrow night in the second game of their last back-to-back of the season. Tip off is at 7 p.m.