WATCH: Kawhi Leonard discusses defending Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Clippers have a single home loss this season, and truthfully, it was one of their more impressive efforts of the year.
Without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers gave the Bucks all they could handle before ultimately falling by 5 points. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams had matching 34-point outputs as spot starters, but LA was just a bit short on talent.
That won't be the case in the teams' second meeting, as both Leonard and George are available and Leonard faces the Bucks for the first time since his Toronto Raptors defeated them in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.
That series turned when Leonard took the defensive assignment of guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo, who would eventually be named MVP at the end of the season. In a regular season matchup, and with Leonard still practicing load management, he won't have to defend Antetokounmpo for nearly as many minutes. The Clippers also have George and Moe Harkless to help ease the burden, and as Leonard notes, team defense is the key against a star of the Greek Freak's caliber.
Nevertheless, Antetokounmpo comes into Friday night's contest averaging 31.0 points and 13.2 rebounds in only 31.7 minutes per game. He won Eastern Conference player of the month for October and November, and his Bucks are winners of 13 straight, including the last three games by a combined total of 109 points.
The Clippers have done well against contending teams at home, notching wins against the Lakers, the Raptors, the Celtics, and the Rockets; they also won their first road game with Leonard and George healthy in Dallas. But Milwaukee is on another level. The Bucks, and specifically Giannis, will test just how special LA's wing tandem truly is.