The LA Clippers rallied back from a 12-point first-quarter deficit to overcome the Milwaukee Bucks 129-105. The likes of Paul George, Serge Ibaka, Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo were all ruled out for this matchup but Tyronn Lue's men still won comfortably at home.
It was an all-round effort from the LA Clippers with four players scoring 20 or more points. Kawhi Leonard nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 21 points, eight assists and nine rebounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the charge for the Milwaukee Bucks with a game-high 32 points.
The game was fairly close till the third quarter, but then the LA Clippers caught fire from the three-point line and ran roughshod over the Milwaukee Bucks. Without further ado, let's look at the five talking points from this matchup.
#1 LA Clippers dig deep to overcome the Milwaukee Bucks
The LA Clippers were fiery hot to start the game but lost their way midway through the first quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday joined the party and were unstoppable from the field. The duo combined for 24 of the Milwaukee Bucks' 38 points in the first period as Mike Budenholzer's men claimed a 12-point lead.
The dynamic changed in the second quarter, though, as Ty Lue's men displayed extra tenacity on every possession. They moved the ball well to create good looks on offense, battled hard on the glass and made it tough for the visitors on the perimeter. In fact, they outrebounded the Milwaukee Bucks 46-32.
The LA Clippers displayed their doggedness for the rest of the game and eventually ran away with the win.
#2 Milwaukee Bucks' bench strength comes into question again
The Milwaukee Bucks sacrificed their depth when they traded for Jrue Holiday at the start of the season. While their starting unit has improved significantly as a result, they're simply devoid of impact players on the bench.
The Bucks' second unit lacked the needed bite against the LA Clippers on Monday night. Seven players from the bench featured in this game and they combined for a paltry 22 points. Thanasis Antetokounmpo did bring his energy on the defensive end and wasn't as bad going forward either. But the rest of the reserve players were simply off the mark.
#3 Don't count out the LA Clippers yet
Critics were quick to count out the LA Clippers from the title race after they lost four of their six games in March. But Tyronn Lue's men have bounced back with aplomb. They won their sixth consecutive game by overcoming the Milwaukee Bucks. This comes right after a comfortable win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
What's special about Monday's game is that Kawhi Leonard and co. had to dig deep. Their second-stringers came together in the absence of Paul George, Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley to put up a fight.
Marcus Morris led the team with 25 points while Luke Kennard dropped five three-pointers. Nicolas Batum was pivotal on both ends of the court and Reggie Jackson had 15 points in the third quarter alone.
Despite having a mediocre run in the trade market, the LA Clippers have enough pieces to challenge any team if they work in unison. They can surely challenge for the title if they're able to come together in the playoffs.
#4 Are the Milwaukee Bucks legitimate contenders?
The Milwaukee Bucks have been far too patchy lately. They lost five straight games in February but won 13 of the next 14 games. Mike Budenholzer's men find themselves at the end of three straight losses yet again. Yes, most contenders will lose a few games here and there in the regular season, but rarely do they allow that troublesome run to stretch beyond two games.
The nature of the loss against the LA Clippers is more concerning for the Milwaukee Bucks front office. They were in control of proceedings but took their foot off the gas in the second quarter and were punished by a team playing without three of its starters. This is far too reminiscent of the Bucks' shoddy performances in the last two playoffs and if I were Giannis Antetokounmpo, I'd be worried.
#5 Terance Mann could have a long-term future in LA
Just fresh off a 23-point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers, Terance Mann brought the energy on both ends of the court for the LA Clippers tonight. The sophomore guard is getting an extended run in the wake of injuries to regular rotation players and is making the most of it.
Mann played 33 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks, recording 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. He ran the offense with surety and was aggressive while driving to the rim off the dribble. He competed for offensive boards and was disruptive on defense.
At 24 years of age, Mann is a budding player on an increasingly old LA Clippers roster. He could definitely be a key component of this team over several years if he can keep up his performances.