LAC fell to Milwaukee in a close one Sunday afternoon; let’s check how each player fared in our Clippers vs Bucks player grades.
Clippers Starter Grades
Patrick Beverley: C. I don’t want to be too harsh on Pat for a game where his primary offense was just missing good shots–after all, he’s over 40% from deep on the season, so we’ll just have to live with a 1-6 outing from time to time. But he didn’t really make an impression on this game, and there were several times where the defense clearly opened up for him (not just for open threes, but to potentially get into the lane and take a floater or find the open man) and he was too passive.
Paul George: C. At halftime, Paul George had 14 points on 6-10 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. At the final horn, he had 16 points on 7-21 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Everyone has their good and bad nights, and George is still shooting over 50% from the field and 47% from deep on the season, but he just didn’t bring enough to the Clippers tonight. That was especially true down the stretch of the game as LAC went scoreless in the final 4 minutes, with George and Kawhi Leonard running a brutally stupid plan of attacking Milwaukee’s best defenders head-on instead of strategically putting their weaker defenders in compromising positions.
Kawhi Leonard: C+. I thought Kawhi was pretty good for most of this game, but not great, with 25 points on 10-21 shooting, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. But like George, Leonard was responsible for the Clippers’ awful late-game offense that was somehow as poorly conceived as it was executed. That’s where LAC lost the game.
Nicolas Batum: B-. After a furious start to the season, Nic has settled in to much more pedestrian contributions on both ends in recent weeks. He’s mostly invisible offensively save for some sharply-regressed shooting from the corners, and has been much more average than good defensively. He is rarely going to do anything terrible to cost you games, but it’s definitely fair to ask if you’d get a little more production were some of his 30 minutes given to more impactful players on the Clippers’ bench.
Serge Ibaka: B+. This one was really tough, because Serge was terrible in the first half, but carried the Clippers offensively through their third quarter comeback. Milwaukee clearly came into this game not scared of Ibaka, and happily funneled the ball to him, where he either missed (starting the game 1-7) or even worse, didn’t shoot at all, causing the offense to sputter as he passed up good looks. But a hot stretch in the third quarter took the Clippers from down double digits to ahead 5 at the end of the frame, and as his shots started falling he picked up his activity defensively and on the glass as well, resulting in the best quarter he’s played all season.
Clippers Bench Player Grades
Lou Williams: B+. Lou didn’t have an explosive game, but he had an effective one, with 14 points on 5-11 shooting and 4 assists as he engineered the offense off the bench. With Milwaukee lacking the prolific scoring guards that many other teams have, the Clippers could get away with a little more of Lou on defense than against other contenders–but even hiding off-ball, he got caught napping multiple times on backdoor cuts, keeping him from the A- territory warranted by his offensive production alone.
Marcus Morris: B-. Marcus had a rough start to the night, going 1-5 in the first half, but was 3-6 from deep in the second half and probably should be allowed to play a bit more than 23 minutes on a night like tonight where LAC could have used all the shot-making it could get.
Ivica Zubac: A-. Speaking of “should be allowed to play a bit more,” Zu only getting 16 minutes in this game is a massive error by Tyronn Lue second only to the Clippers’ horrific late-game strategy offensively. Lue admitted after the game that Zubac had the most success of any Clipper guarding Giannis Antentokounmpo, so playing him just 16 minutes feels like a pretty big missed opportunity, especially as Giannis burned the Clippers repeatedly down the stretch.
Terance Mann: B+. Mann did about everything you could ask for in the box score tonight, coming in for 15 minutes and getting a couple of buckets, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. But while he had a couple of noticeably nice plays, there were a couple drawbacks as well. The spacing visibly suffered with Mann and Zubac on the court together in the first half, and Terance just wasn’t effective in limited action defending Khris Middleton–including a poor effort at the end of a quarter where he let Middleton walk from coast to coast and get an uncontested layup.
Reggie Jackson appeared briefly, but not enough to warrant a grade. Mfiondu Kabengele and Luke Kennard remained glued to the bench. Patrick Patterson is not with the team for personal reasons, while Amir Coffey is with the struggling Agua Caliente Clippers in the Orlando bubble. Jay Scrubb and Daniel Oturu are both recovering from injuries.
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