Talent matters: Clippers 109 – Bucks 95

Los Angeles Clippers 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 Milwaukee Bucks
Jabari Parker, PF 31 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -25 +/-

Two dunks. The most important thing Parker does every game is dunk the ball and he did so twice on Wednesday. Outside of that, he wasn’t able to get much going, as he couldn’t quite get his shots in close to fall with regularity. He didn’t rely solely on long jumpers Wednesday night, which was nice to see. But Milwaukee continues to struggle to secure defensive rebounds. Maybe this will never be a strength of Parker’s, but as a young player, there’s still reason to hope that he’ll be able to develop as a rebounder.

Of course, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin aren’t exactly easy guys to hold off the glass.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-2 3FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -19 +/-

80% of Tweets about Giannis Antetokounmpo use both his name and a variation of the word “aggressive”. Everyone wants Giannis to be more aggressive or gets thrilled that he’s playing with aggression. He was silent in the second and third quarters, but was getting up shots in garbage time. His nine fourth-quarter points were the salve on the wounds Chris Paul and JJ Redick inflicted on the Bucks.

Greg Monroe, C 36 MIN | 8-16 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -25 +/-

Typical Greg Monroe numbers obtained through typical Greg Monroe means on a typical Greg Monroe night. He will never score a ton of points or grab a ton of rebounds, but he will always score a decent number of points and grab a good amount of rebounds.

I am going to use that paragraph to describe Monroe, but defensively on Wednesday night, he seemed a step slower than usual even. He’s very rarely able to challenge any shots, which was notable against a team with the explosiveness and ability to get to the rim of the Clippers.

Khris Middleton, SG 39 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-3 3FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -21 +/-

Eric Nehm and I were talking about Middleton quite a bit after the game. Are his struggles this season merely the product of misuse? Is it a problem that he can’t thrive even through misuse? It’s an interesting debate.

Regardless of whether he should be doing better or not, Milwaukee continues to spend time posting up Middleton and having him try to create something with the ball in his hands, two things that don’t play to his biggest strength as a shooter. It was jarring to see Reddick attempt nine threes, almost all of them of the catch and shoot variety and watch Middleton pound the ball in the post over and over.

O.J. Mayo, SG 36 MIN | 7-15 FG | 0-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -13 +/-

He had his jumper working as well as it had worked practically all season. It seemed like he was a little more assertive throughout the game about looking for his own shot, rather than playing background actor to Jabari and Giannis. The issue with a Mayo heavy shooting night for the Bucks is his occasional reliance on mid-range shots. He didn’t attempt a free throw or make a three on Wednesday night, which made his near 50% shooting night a lot less effective.

John Henson, PF 12 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +11 +/-

Coming off a very strong game in which he grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots, Henson wasn’t able to get on the court much behind Greg Monroe. He supplied his usual array of short hooks, but didn’t make too much of an impact defensively or as a rebounder.

Johnny O’Bryant III, PF 8 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +12 +/-

Corner three! As the shot clock expired, he canned a three from the corner, making him the first Bucks forward to make a three in the month of December. What a thrilling moment. O’Bryant did nothing else significant.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG 32 MIN | 9-16 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 11 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +1 +/-

Another improved game from MCW. He got his floaters to fall once again, but best of all, he was able to limit his out of control turnovers. To see him bring down the sloppy turnovers and not have it come at the expense of his overall ability to assist teammates is a very good thing. Even with the stats he put up, it was obvious how superior Chris Paul is just by watching the way the Clippers point guard was able to control his body and freeze opponents with even the threat of his pass.

Rashad Vaughn, SG 17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +9 +/-

He was running around grabbing rebounds and being active for most of his minutes. He made one very nice overhead pass on a drive that led to a John Henson dunk. But he had some puzzling moments as well. He passed the ball with one second left on shot clock. He was supposed to be in to start the fourth quarter and sat on the bench with his shooting shirt on. Rookie mistakes.

Jason Kidd
The Clippers were a tough matchup for Milwaukee, but the Bucks hung around for the first half, trailing by one going into halftime. Kidd tried fouling DeAndre Jordan late, but Milwaukee couldn’t grab offensive rebounds or consistently get stops outside of the Jordan fouls.

One Thing We Saw

  1. It’s hard to be too disappointed in MIlwaukee’s effort Wednesday night. They played a much more talented team and lost. There were some obvious poor plays, no question. They allowed seven points on missed DeAndre Jordan free throws after the Clippers were able to grab offensive rebounds. Defensive rotations were missed and JJ Redick was slipping through defenders for open shots all night. But basically, guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were very good, as they often are. Defending that type of guy is something that Milwaukee hasn’t been able to do yet this season.

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  1. Besides blocking shots is John Henson really that good defensively? I hope so, but last night he continued to get manhandled and burned (grandee deandre Jordan and Blake griffin are very strong) committing little fouls that did no good. If you are going to foul guys like Jordan and griffin make it hard and worthwhile to make them miss not little baby touches to give them and 1’s. I hope he improves because he was very slow and disappointing

  2. The Bucks paid two average players ( Middleton and Henson) big money will probably dooms them at present and future. They should keep Knight, instead Middleton. Trading Knight, and keeping Middleton is probably Jason Kidd idea.