3 outliers in the LA Clippers’ loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Reggie Jackson, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Clippers came into February with a positive mindset after winning six of their last seven games. On Thursday, head coach Tyronn Lue and his squad continued their Eastern Conference road trip by taking on the Milwaukee Bucks. The defense did a great job defending Giannis Antetokounmpo, which led to a lead as high as 21 points.

Despite the double-digit upside, the Bucks were a minor scoring run away from jumping back into the game. Antetokounmpo forced a prominent comeback behind the Clippers’ questionable substitutions and lack of offensive production. That said, these three outliers put the Clippers in position to lose, proving why this team might have serious problems moving forward.

Two-way superstars, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, did not perform as expected for the LA Clippers.

After several games of playing at an All-NBA level, Kawhi Leonard had one of his toughest offensive performances for the LA Clippers. Leonard accounted for a double-double, but he was limited on offense when guarded by guard Jrue Holiday. Specifically, Holiday limited Leonard in isolation, as he rarely passed the ball trying to get to his spots.

Moreover, George did not show up to play in the second half. His poor ball control paved the way for missed opportunities to Norman Powell, who had a great offensive night. Additionally, George was 2-of-6 at the free throw line, adding to how he was feeding into the energy of Milwaukee’s home crowd and stadium.

Furthermore, Leonard and George combined for 33 points on 42 attempts while only making three of their 11 three-pointers. What’s more, these two stars shot 2-of-13 in the fourth quarter. This match-up was a chance for Leonard and George to show they are capable of winning against the best teams, however, they did the exact opposite.

Giannis’ dominance showed the Clippers’ lack of solidity at the center position.

Throughout most of the game, LA Clippers star big man, Ivica Zubac, was containing the paint against the two-time MVP. This story changed once Zubac found himself in foul trouble, giving Antetokounmpo opportunities to do what he does best and attack the rim.

When Zubac re-entered the game, Antetokounmpo had already developed a hot streak as he crushed the Clippers’ defense in the second half. Zubac’s +/- displays what his impact was like in the 29 minutes he was on the court.

The real problem, however, was the lack of support behind Zubac. The two-way wing, Nicolas Batum, had a rough defensive performance against Antetokounmpo as he was -24 in only 17 minutes. This allowed the Bucks to build their confidence and take the lead late in the game.

The LA Clippers’ coaching staff valued Reggie Jackson in the fourth quarter more than Terance Mann.

LA Clippers head coach, Tyronn Lue, has had some questionable decisions throughout the season. His substitutions against the Bucks made it clear that he preferred Reggie Jackson in the fourth over Terance Mann. Nonetheless, Jackson should not have been in the game, as he shot 3-of-9 with a +/- of -18.

The reason for Mann starting as the one-guard was to help facilitate the offense, along with George’s play-making abilities. His talents were hidden on the bench as the production from the Clippers’ offense was insufficient.  Lue’s game-plan relied more on Leonard and George going one-on-one, rather than moving the ball and finding an open look.

Next. Hero ball coerces a loss on the Clips'. dark

Additionally, Mann can be a force on defense by grabbing rebounds and setting up his teammates with opportunities to score. Had Mann been on the floor, he would have found Powell in stride, putting the Clippers in a better position to win the ball game.