Physically okay: Bucks 111 – Clippers 106

By the time Khris Middleton and Blake Griffin got up off the ground and were separated, it was clear this wasn’t the typical basketball game the Milwaukee Bucks had played this season. Griffin took exception to Middleton crawling on him in an attempt to corral a ball that was considered loose. There was some jawing, a little bit of pushing and shoving. It wasn’t anything major and it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary in this game, which was a bit out of the ordinary itself.

By far, this was the most physical game the Bucks had been involved in this season. From Griffin’s constant arm hooking and Matt Barnes near flagrant takedown of Giannis Antetokounmpo to Chris Paul’s hand-checking/jabs to Brandon Knight’s ribs, the Bucks took plenty of blows on Saturday. But Milwaukee didn’t shy away from the contact or let it affect their composure. As the Clippers pushed and prodded them, the Bucks went about their business and made a bunch of shots (56.6% to be exact) and did as well as they could have hoped defending Griffin (4-12 FG, 10 points, nine assists, six rebounds) and Paul (10 points, seven assists, six turnovers).

Was it a learning experience?

“Any time we put on a uniform, it’s a learning experience. No matter if the game is physical or finesse.” said Coach Jason Kidd after the game.

Well, okay. So we’ll say this just happened to be one of the more enjoyable learning experiences to watch.

Los Angeles Clippers 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
111 Milwaukee Bucks
Larry Sanders, C 28 MIN | 7-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +15

According to ESPN’s shot charts, Sanders did not take a shot from further than a foot away from the rim, which is a great thing to see. Even better was seeing him finish with real consistency. His most difficult shot was a floating hook over DeAndre Jordan in the fourth quarter, hit just before a Bayless three put the Bucks up five. Additionally, he played a role in keeping the Clippers from going nuts on the offensive glass.

Brandon Knight, PG 31 MIN | 6-14 FG | 7-9 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | -15

I’d put this game up with any of Knight’s best. Not only did he make most of his free throws down the stretch and a very deep three to give Milwaukee a 10 point lead with under a minute to play, but he never backed down from the always physical, sometimes dirty, Chris Paul.

O.J. Mayo, SG 11 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -5

Mayo started hot, hitting his first three shots in the first quarter, but didn’t see much time after picking up a pair of early fouls as well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 31 MIN | 8-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | -12

He matched his career high in scoring and was feeling great about himself and his team after the game.

“I’m just trying to drive it hard and I try to put my shoulder in them,” Giannis said about how he’s attacking the hoop when he has an isolation matchup. “Because if they don’t try to block the shot, they’ll try to foul me and if they don’t foul me I try to score and it’s up to me. At the end of the day if I miss the layup or make a bad play, it’s me. It’s my fault, because I think they cannot stop me when I try to drive.”

Yeah, Giannis is feeling good these days. This was not playful or fun, this was a serious Giannis letting us all know he feels like he can’t be stopped. This is getting good.

Khris Middleton, PF 22 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +12

Catch, shoot, make. That was Middleton’s game for the majority of the night. He’s hit roughly 55% of his shots over his past five games, a stretch in which he’s averaging almost 12 points to go with about 5.5 rebounds per game. He’s thriving off the bench right now, even when thrust into some minutes at the four position. And Middleton seems to be involved in more and more scrappy situations, a testament to the effort he’s giving on both sides of the ball.

Zaza Pachulia, C 20 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -3

He could not hit a free throw line jumper all night, which limited how hard the Clippers had to guard him and freed up Jordan to focus his attention elsewhere.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 27 MIN | 3-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +1

The Marshall/Bayless backcourt destroyed the Clippers reserves and helped swing this game in favor of Milwaukee. Bayless made a few jump shots and helped keep the ball moving throughout the evening.

Kendall Marshall, PG 17 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +20

Marshall looked great spearheading Milwaukee’s bench unit. He never ceases to try and find open players to advance the ball up the court quickly to or swing it to the other side to look for new opportunities offensively.

Jared Dudley, SG 17 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +9

His impact wasn’t as obvious as that of his teammates, but he was in during some strong runs for Milwaukee.

Jason Kidd
Kidd said the team had some physical practices over the previous two days and it seemed to really help a rested team prepare for a tough matchup against the Clippers.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Social media tells me that the Bucks have now scored over 100 points in nine consecutive games for the first time since 1991. They’re moving the ball well on offense and looked much better finishing, specifically in the paint, against the Clippers than they did against the Thunder. Milwaukee racked up 39 fourth quarter points!
  2. The Bucks have now won four games against the Western Conference. That did not happen last season. They won three such games last season.
  3. Giannis and Matt Barnes had quite a battle. Barnes came down hard on Giannis’s arms as he went up for a breakaway layup/dunk near the end of the first half. This made Barnes an enemy of the people in Milwaukee. Later, Barnes had a dunk over a couple of Bucks and was hit with a technical for staring at his opponents. Barnes finished with 26 points to Giannis’s 20.

Categories: Recaps

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    • The blog writer here has the same problem as the Bucks offense nearly every 2nd half of games … they forget about Jabari Parker and freeze him out of the offense.

  1. Don’t mean to sound like Swisch, but this game proved further why Marshall needs 15-20 minutes per game at least. The offense just moves so smoothly with him on the court. So now I have this question: when Ersan comes back, do marshalls minutes disappear again? Or do they bench the clearly less productive Vet in Dudley?

    • Is it really so terrible to sound like Swisch? — (he asked good-naturedly).

      It was a party for the Bucks and their fans with Kendall on the court, including, I think, an 18-3 run in the thick of the fourth quarter. Kendall was the host, serving up sweet dishes to his teammates, to the tune of a striking +20 for the game.

      Perhaps the biggest beneficiary was Larry, who was +15 for the game while the other starters were far behind in that category — the difference seeming to be that Larry had more time on the court with Kendall. Not just in this game, Larry seems to be generally uplifted by Kendall; however, I do want to give Larry himself plenty of credit for manning up physically and emotionally in what may have been his finest game of the season.

      Gotta mention Khris, too, who seems to have improved markedly shooting off the dribble, as well as in his efforts at cleaning up the glass.

      I appreciate Jeremy pointing out a lot of these things in his recap. It’s great to have Giannis and Jabari and Brandon leading the class of our young players, but it’s so much more enjoyable when Kendall and Khris and Larry and John are also given meaningful minutes and ample opportunities to shine on the court.

      • Just messing with you of course, Swisch. I love the way Kendall runs the offense, and his pocket passes to the bigs for easy points are huge. Larry definitely was the beneficiary of some good passing with the second unit. He also stayed out of foul trouble which allowed him to play more aggressively during that fourth quarter run. Good game all around.

  2. Kendall Marshall hall of fame bound!!!! Khris is the best wing in the NBA!!!!!!! Henson is the next Bill Russell!!!!!!! That’s what Swisch sounds like after every game, except when one of his holy trinity sucks then it’s Kidd’s fault they played bad or some such excuse. I hope you end up being right about all three….I really do. I’m not holding my breath though.