Clippers rip Bucks for ninth straight win
Milwaukee shoots just 36 percent in 26-point loss
MILWAUKEE — It’s not easy trying to stop the Los Angeles Clippers, as the Milwaukee Bucks found out the hard way Saturday night.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, as they’ve done so often this season, out-shot, out-hustled and out-muscled the Bucks, extending their winning streak to nine consecutive games with an 111-85 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Paul said. “We’re trying to make sure we continue to play the game the right way. We understand that at some point. We’ll lose again but if we keep playing the right way and not get too upset, we’ll be alright. Tonight, we were very focused.”
Griffin, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, led the Clippers’ attack, going 7 of 12 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line. The Clippers had their way with the Bucks’ collection of post players, outscoring Milwaukee, 66-28, in the paint and a 49-40 edge on rebounds.
He had plenty of help, too. DeAndre Jordan scored 15 on 7-of-10 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds, Chris Paul finished with 10 points and recorded 13 assists and Matt Barnes scored 21 off the bench for Los Angeles (17-6).
“Our starters got off to a very good start for us and then our bench was able to come in and take control,” said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. “We weathered the game well in the third quarter and I thought we had good energy overall. We were able to control our turnovers and we did a good job on the glass. We were pretty sharp in a lot of areas.”
While the Clippers were hitting from just about anywhere on the court, poor shooting plagued the Bucks from the start. Milwaukee shot just 26 percent in the first half and 36 percent for the game.
Those missed shots helped spark the Clippers’ transition game and gave Los Angeles a 31-8 advantage on the fast break.
“We had trouble making shots,” Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. “They not only have size in there but they have big bodies. We took some bad shots in the paint and they bounced out a ways and then (the Clippers) were off and running. They’re almost unbeatable when that’s the case.”
The Clippers, meanwhile, made 53 percent of their shots in the first half. They led, 28-15, after one quarter. The Bucks would twice cut the deficit to six points in the second but the Clippers came back each time and held a 55-35 lead at halftime.
“That’s a very talented team,” Skiles said. “If you’re going to compete with them, you need a superior effort and we had an inferior effort tonight.
“We were flat-footed the whole night and gave up 66 points in the paint. That’s a tough game to win. We got caught ball-watching a couple of times and just generally weren’t very competitive.”
Both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis struggled Saturday, going a combined 7 for 27 from the field. Ellis finished with 13 points and Jennings had 9. Marquis Daniels scored 16 to lead Milwaukee (12-10), which saw its winning streak snapped at four games.
NOTES: The Clippers’ nine-game winning streak is the franchise’s longest since moving to Los Angeles. They won 11 in a row in Nov. 1974 when they were the Buffalo Braves. … Milwaukee was without Mike Dunleavy Jr. who still is sidelined with a bruised left knee. Dunleavy worked out before the game, but the coaching staff determined he wasn’t ready to return. He’s missed seven of the Bucks’ last eight games. … Tobias Harris also sat out with a right elbow laceration. … Chris Paul recorded his 10th point/assist double-double of the season and trails only Boston’s Rajon Rando for the most in the NBA. … Daniels went 2 of 4 from beyond the arc Saturday and is now 8 of his last 12 with one of those misses being a three-quarters court attempt at the end of the third quarter. … Paul and Jennings entered the game ranked first and second in the league in steals. Paul is averaging 2.59 per game and Jennings 2.52. … The Clippers’ victory snapped a three-game losing streak in Milwaukee.