Monday, March 24, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 106, Bucks 98
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- For the second straight year and just the second time in franchise history, the Los Angeles Clippers have claimed their 50th victory of the season, with Monday’s 106-98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Last season’s Clippers won 56 games, and this season’s Clippers probably will have to better that record with just 11 games left in the season if they hope to improve on their current No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
The Clippers also have won a season-high eight straight games at home and have a 30-5 record on their home floor -- the best home record in the West and second-best in the league.
“We’re trying to make this what we’ve made it,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “A place that when you walk in here, you understand this is our place and this is a hard place to play.”
How it happened: Despite playing the team with the worst record in the NBA, the Clippers simply could not pull away from Milwaukee on Monday. They took a 15-point lead in the first quarter that dwindled down to a single point a couple of times. The Clippers’ starters normally are on the bench during the fourth quarter of these games but were forced to finish out Monday’s game against a Bucks team that is now 13-58 on the season.
What it means: The Clippers have won 13 of their past 14 games, which is all the more impressive when you consider the Bucks have won 13 games all season. The Clippers now have a six-game lead atop the Pacific Division -- and a two-game lead (with the tiebreaker) over the Houston Rockets for the third seed in the West -- with just 11 games left in the regular season.
Hits:Blake Griffin had 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, and now has scored at least 20 points in a franchise-record 29 straight games, which is the second-longest streak in the NBA this season. Chris Paul had 14 points and seven assists, while Darren Collison had 15 points and six assists.
Misses: The Clippers had 13 turnovers, with Griffin accounting for five of them.
Stat of the game: The Clippers won despite being outscored in points in the paint (54-40) and second-chance points (16-10). The Clippers did have the advantage in fast-break points (22-7).
Up next: The Clippers will travel Tuesday to New Orleans and play the Pelicans on Wednesday. It is the start to a five-game trip, their last long trip of the season. The Clippers have defeated the Pelicans in their three meetings this season.