April 15, 2014

After a loss to the worst team in the Western Conference, it's already clear what should be made of the Milwaukee Bucks' win over the best team of basketball.

It might still be too early to draw many conclusions from the Los Angeles Clippers' recent success given the level of competition.

The only of their last six games to be decided by more than five points was a win in Milwaukee, and the Clippers can do it again Wednesday night to hand the Bucks a deflating Staples Center sweep and 11th straight road loss.

The Clippers (15-10) have won five of their last six with the blemish an 83-80 defeat in Chicago, while the handful of wins came by a total of 27 points. A 109-95 victory over the Bucks last Wednesday accounted for more than half that, and Los Angeles concluded the five-game road trip with Monday's 105-103 overtime win against Detroit. It was its eighth in 10 games after a 3-8 span.

Blake Griffin had 34 points, J.J. Redick added 24 and the Clippers won despite trailing by six with under two minutes remaining.

"I think a win like this can go a long ways," Jamal Crawford told the team's official website. "We handled adversity again. I think we were down three with a minute to go in Minnesota. This game, we're down 86-81, a minute and a half, two minutes (left), and we found a way to win."

Redick has been a bigger part of the offense in the last four games, averaging 21.0 points on 50.9 percent shooting while hitting 14 of 25 from 3-point range. That follows a 13.4-point average in his first 17 games, and he drained a 3 in the final seconds of regulation against the Pistons to tie it.

"The shot J.J. made, we're all going crazy," said Crawford, who hit a 3 with 12 seconds left in overtime. "We play for each other, and we're really figuring it out."

The Bucks (10-16) present little mystery. The 14-point win last week came with Redick scoring a season-high 31 points, which is two shy of his career best. He's averaging 26.3 with a 16-of-24 mark from 3-point range in the last three meetings.

The teams split two games last season, but Los Angeles has won seven of the last eight and 14 of the last 15 at home, including seven straight.

Few if any of those defeats figure to have been as painful for the Bucks as Tuesday's 113-95 loss to the 4-21 Lakers, representing the ultimate regression after Saturday's 108-95 home win over Golden State.

"This is the NBA," coach Jason Kidd said. "Anybody can be beaten on any given night. If you don't bring energy and effort, you can find yourself on the losing end, and that's what happened tonight."

Greg Monroe was a late scratch with a sore left knee after someone fell into him in the morning shootaround, and he'll be evaluated again Wednesday. Milwaukee remains short at guard with Jerryd Bayless missing the trip due to a sprained ankle, and the team learned Tuesday that Greivis Vasquez will be out three to four months after having knee surgery.

Those injuries have allowed Michael Carter-Williams to step back into a larger role. He's averaged 18.0 points and shot 57.1 percent in the last two games, albeit as a reserve.

Dating to the loss to the Clippers, Milwaukee has dropped three of four. That could quickly grow to five of six with a stop in Oakland coming Friday for the rematch with the Warriors, and its road skid is already in danger of matching a recent 11-gamer from Feb. 6-March 30.

You May Like