Five Takeaways: Clippers battle back but fall short against Bucks
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers (40-28) fell 97-96 to the Milwaukee Bucks (33-34) on Wednesday evening at STAPLES Center.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ defeat.
1) Clippers battle back but fail defensively in close loss – The Clippers were a bounce away from pulling out a close victory on Thursday night, but it wasn’t Blake Griffin’s last second shot that frustrated Los Angeles, but their inability to make defensive stops down the stretch. The Clippers made a game of it late thanks in large part due to DeAndre Jordan’s performance in the fourth but were unable to overcome 30 fourth quarter points from Milwaukee to steal a victory.
After the game, Rivers rued his team’s inability to get stops in the final moments.
“We just couldn’t get multiple stops,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We got a couple stops because we cut the lead, but I just thought we failed to get big stops.”
2) DeAndre Jordan keeps the Clippers in contention with strong evening – DeAndre Jordan kept the Clippers afloat on Wednesday almost single-handedly. Jordan notched a double-double with 22 points and 17 rebounds in a dominant showing. In a rather flat Clippers’ performance, Jordan proved to be the catalyst all evening, with his dunk with 9:47 to play in the third quarter igniting a Clippers run. As the Clippers inched closer in the final minutes of the game, a Jordan dunk and subsequent free throw cut Milwaukee’s lead to just one, but the home team was unable to pull even. The Clippers’ forward did his part on the opposite side of the ball as 15 of his 17 rebounds came off the defensive glass.
3) Points off turnovers still an issue for the Clippers – No, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the meetings between the two teams earlier this month, but Doc Rivers’ squad still conceded a concerning number of points off turnovers against Milwaukee. The Clippers conceded 16 turnovers—six from Chris Paul— with Milwaukee making the home team pay with 18 points off miscues. On the other side of the ball, the Clippers scored just one point off turnovers by the Bucks. With just 14 games remaining for the Clippers before the start of the playoffs, the team will need to do a better job at stopping opponents from capitalizing on their mistakes.
4) Bucks sweep Clippers for the first time in more than a decade—Milwaukee’s win helped the Bucks sweep the season series with the Clippers for the first time since 1999-2000. Jason Kidd’s team defeated Los Angeles 112-101 on March 3rd in Milwaukee. The win also gave Milwaukee their first win on the road against the Clippers in nine tries, dating all the way back to Dec. 4, 2007.
5) Time to worry about playoff seeding? – The Clippers have won three of their last five, but Wednesday’s defeat to Milwaukee could signal some worrying from Doc Rivers’ group after their second straight defeat. After seeming sure to slide into either the fourth or fifth seed earlier in the week, the Clippers are just 1.5 games ahead of the sixth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. With a trip to face the Denver Nuggets on tap for Thursday before the Clippers host the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers two days later, Rivers’ team will need to find a way to stop the slide if they’re to hold their seeding in the competitive West.
What’s Next? - The Clippers head back on the road to face the Denver Nuggets (32-35) on Thursday.