LA Clippers and Bucks face off in battle of NBA’s best

LA Clippers Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LA Clippers Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers and Bucks have both started their seasons hot but in much different ways. Which of two of the NBA’s best will come out with a victory tonight?

The LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks have a combined record of 35-9 to start the season and both are championship contenders. What should you be watching for as Giannis Antetokounmpo faces off against Kawhi Leonard for the first time since last year’s playoffs?

The Clippers and Bucks have both had good starts to the season, but the main difference? The Bucks started hot with a fully healthy roster while the Clippers nursed their roster to health and have hit their stride just after the first quarter of the season.

The Bucks will enter this matchup in the midst of a 13-game winning streak while the Clippers have nine of their last 10, so these two teams are obviously among the NBA’s hottest squads.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has surged in pursuit of his second straight MVP award, averaging 31.0 points per game with 13.2 rebounds and the best player efficiency rating in the league at 34.00. Forward Khris Middleton has also kept his stride after his first All-Star season, averaging 17 points per contest despite missing seven games with injury.

Former Clippers’ guard Eric Bledsoe is earning his paycheck as well leading the team in assists per game with 5.6. To say the Clippers will be battle-tested against a deep Bucks team is an understatement as 14 Bucks players average five points or more per game. By averages, that is at least 70 guaranteed points per game.

This of course means the Bucks lead the league in points per game with 121.1 while the Clippers have nearly surged into the top-five, sitting sixth in the league with 115.5. The Bucks also lead in the association in field goal percentage while the Clippers sit 12th, so shooting efficiently in this matchup will be crucial for the Clippers.

How will the Clippers shoot efficiently? Use Paul George and Lou Williams effectively. George has averaged 23.5 points per game in his 11 contests while Williams is on pace for his third-straight Sixth Man of the Year award, averaging 21.1 points per game.

The Clippers are once again the best team in the association in bench scoring with 53.9 points per game while the Bucks sit seventh with 41.7 points per game, so that 12 point bench difference in large part to Williams and Montrezl Harrell may be the difference between two evenly matched teams.

The matchup to watch of course will be Giannis versus Kawhi, but how each team’s other players perform will be the difference and don’t be surprised to see a high assist count for the Greek Freak with The Claw guarding him all night.

The Clippers’ goals to victory are pretty straight-forward but easier said than done. Slow down Giannis, shoot efficiently against the NBA’s 10th ranked defense and play smart basketball and stay out of foul trouble to combat their depth.

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The Bucks lead the all-time series against the Clippers 66-52 and have won two straight against the Clippers. The last time the Clippers won in Milwaukee came on March 27, 2018.

Two of the NBA’s best will tip-off at 5:30 pm PT at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.