The city of Milwaukee has been walking on clouds for the last month or so and for good reason. Their professional basketball team has decided to be better than anyone that dares to step on the same court. Their 13-game win streak going into Friday night’s game with LAC was mostly against teams whose record is below .500. The Clippers were their first real test since early November and the anticipation for the matchup was high, considering Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were available for this go around with their title favorite team. What ensued couldn’t have been predicted by the most optimistic fan, as the Bucks manhandles the Clips, 119-91.
This game had a lot of similarities to how the Bucks season as a whole has gone. The first few minutes were rough on the offensive end. Giannis picked up a quick foul and looked like he was rushing himself. Luckily, the defense was locked in from the jump and didn’t allow LA to take advantage of Milwaukee’s slow shooting start. Once the bench units came in later in the first quarter, it was clear who wanted to win more. Led by Pat Connaughton, the bench mob surged to a 30-15 lead by the end of the quarter and wouldn’t relinquish this lead the rest of the way.
The second quarter saw the Clippers push their way within seven, but that was the best they could do. Neither team shot particularly well in the first half, but one team did improve in the second half and it made all the difference. The Bucks came out of halftime locked in and the charge was led by Giannis, who doubled his scoring output from the first half in the first five minutes of the third quarter. After a three from Wesley Matthews, Giannis went nuclear and scored the next ten points for the Bucks, including a poster over Ivica Zubac that made its rounds on social media.
That stretch was the dagger of the game. LAC showed almost no life the entire game and rolled over in the third quarter. The point-differential got as high as 41-points in the second half. Clippers coach Doc Rivers ended up pulling all of his “starters”, Kawhi, PG, Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell with 9:25 left in the game as a sign of defeat. As you could imagine, this brought out a loud cheer from the Milwaukee crowd as they exited the floor.
This was hands down the most impressive win on the Buck’s resumé to this point this season. The Los Angeles Clippers came into this season as the title favorites and still were ahead of Milwaukee before this game. The two teams met earlier in the season with the Bucks winning, but Kawhi and PG didn’t play so it couldn’t be considered a real test. This one was different. Both teams were at nearly full strength and had the full intentions of winning. Milwaukee was just that much more ready and it showed the whole game. Giannis got his revenge on Kawhi and can silence those doubters until a possible Finals matchup.
LAC coach Doc Rivers had high praise for Milwaukee after the game and was disappointed in his squad. “We weren’t gonna win the game tonight. There was no comeback in us. You could see that. They’re the better team right now, and we have a lot of work to do,” Rivers said after the game.
Giannis did his thing in the second half and finished with 27/11/4 in 26 minutes but finished just +7 on +/-. This win had just as much to do with the bench as anyone else. Pat Connaughton led the team in +/- with +35 and Ersan Ilyasova was close behind at +24. The Clippers are considered the deepest team in the NBA, but I’m not so sure.
Milwaukee extended their win streak to 14 games. This was their fourth straight win of at least 24 points. In short, domination. If they weren’t real contenders before, they absolutely are now. The Lakers will continue to get their headlines for obvious reasons, but the Bucks are no joke.
The Bucks get the weekend off before a game with the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.