Gameday Report: Clippers look to bounce back in Milwaukee
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On the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers (37-33) will take on the Bucks (37-33) in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, in the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
Here’s what to look out for in Wednesday’s matchup:
Contain the Freak –
Milwaukee star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is having the best season of his career. On the season, he is averaging career-highs in points (27.5), rebounds (10.1), field goal percentage (.532) and minutes played (37.2). He leads the Bucks in points and rebounds per game, as well as assists and steals per game.
But in his fifth NBA season, he is yet to find much success against the Clippers. His career 14.9 scoring average against LA is tied for his fifth-lowest against any NBA team, and in games in which Antetokounmpo has played, the Bucks are 3-5 against the Clippers.
However, the Bucks star is coming into Wednesday’s contest arguably as hot as he’s been all season. Over the last five games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 31.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, while shooting 53 percent from the field. He has scored 30 or more in five of Milwaukee’s nine March games and over each of the last three games.
Lastly, over the last three games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 36 points, 11 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 2.7 steals.
The Clippers will have to slow the Greek Freak down on some level in order to snap their current 4-game skid.
Still in it –
Despite losing their last four games, due to the nature of the ‘Wacky West’ this season, the Clippers are not out of playoff contention.
The wild card for LA at this point is the chance to knock off its direct playoff competition as the regular season comes to a close. After finishing their current four-game road trip on Friday in Indiana and on Sunday in Toronto, the Clippers will make a pit stop in LA for a rematch with the Bucks on the first night of a back-to-back, before they travel to Phoenix to complete the set. From there, they will visit Portland on March 30, San Antonio on April 3, Utah on April 5, Denver on April 7 and New Orleans on April 9. All five of those teams are above LA in the Western Conference standings, meaning if LA can remain within a game or two of those squads, a few late season victories for the Clippers could propel them into the postseason.
As of Wednesday, the Clippers are 10th in the West, 2.5 games behind Utah for the eighth spot. While LA faces a tough upcoming schedule, so do the Jazz, who will hit the road to face San Antonio and Golden State in two of their next three games, before returning home to host Boston.
The Jazz also have games remaining at Minnesota and at Portland, and at home against the Clippers and Golden State.
Wednesday’s game will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. PDT.