The LA Clippers put up an impressive effort despite being short-handed, but couldn’t cross the finish line in a 124-117 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.


When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were both ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, it was not a shocker.

Considering the situation, a quick turnaround in less than 24 hours, and matinee games no less, it was likely that somebody was going to be out. When everyone suited up against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, the Bucks game was thus the one that was going to have holes in the lineup.

But despite being short-handed and having a noon start on Daylight Savings Time change day no less, the Clippers looked energized and ready to play. PJ Tucker and Amir Coffey took Leonard and George’s spot in the starting lineup and with James Harden leading the attack, the Clippers held a 33-29 lead after the first quarter.

During the second quarter, the Clippers did a good job of finding Ivica Zubac who had his way down low the entire game. Bones Hyland carried over his momentum from the Bulls game, and with Tucker hitting the glass and generally being everywhere on the court, the Clippers continued to lead, 62-59, at the half.

But the Bucks are a potential Finals contender and they were always going make a run. Giannis Antetokounmpo started to get to the free-throw line and poor Clippers offensive possessions lead to turnovers and run-outs by the Bucks.

Brandon Boston Jr. gave the crowd something to cheer about when he attacked the rim and threw down a dunk over both Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. And even though the Bucks pulled ahead, the Clippers never led the lead get of reach as they headed into the fourth quarter.

The Clippers kept the game close in the final period, until the final few minutes when Damian Lillard took over. Lillard hit a few three-point shots and the Clippers were unable to answer.

Following the game, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue spoke about the difficulty of missing two stars while the Bucks had both of theirs.

“Those two guys, they’re great players, we understand that. The had a good game,” Lue said. “I thought Dame set the tone early, scoring the basketball, a couple of threes and then took over the game late. Once he got it going, it’s hard to stop him. We tried to blitz, we tried to fire, tried to do some different things but he had it going and made some big shots.”

If there were positives to take away from this game, it was the contributions from some of the seldom-used guys like Hyland and Boston. Obviously there’s a level of rust and getting up to speed that comes with not having played in a while, but both players answered the call as best they could.

“I thought they did a good job with their pace, activity, playing hard, scrapping and competing, I thought they did a really good job,” Lue said. “All our guys coming off the bench did a really good job of just being in a fight, scrapping and competing and you love to see that.”

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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