Kawhi Leonard, Clippers Blow Out Giannis, Bucks for 6th Straight Win

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann, right, goes up for a shot as Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers won their sixth straight game, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 129-105 at home Monday night at the Staples Center.

The Bucks, meanwhile, have dropped three in a row.

Los Angeles, which trailed by 12 points after the first quarter, quickly righted the ship by dropping 31 points in the second frame. L.A. followed that up with a 39-point third quarter as it took firm control.

Having looked a little shaky earlier this month, the Clippers are rolling and firing on all cylinders.


Notable Performers

Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Bucks: 32 points, six rebounds, three assists, one block

Jrue Holiday, PG, Bucks: 24 points, seven assists, four rebounds, three steals, one block

Kawhi Leonard, SF, Clippers: 23 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two steals

Luke Kennard, Clippers: 21 points, five rebounds, two assists


Supporting Cast Steps up for Short-Handed Clippers

Right foot soreness made Paul George a late scratch, leaving the Clippers without the seven-time All-Star, Patrick Beverley, Serge Ibaka and the recently acquired Rajon Rondo.

Los Angeles needed somebody to shoulder a heavier burden than usual to counter the strength of the Bucks' starting lineup, and Reggie Jackson answered the call.

Jackson's ability to create his own shot also helped compensate for the fact that the Clippers lacked a true playmaker aside from Leonard.


Reggie Jackson up to 1⃣5⃣ in the 3rd quarter on NBA TV! 📺: https://t.co/VexAprpikW https://t.co/hfbg7O3Z5j


Reggie Jackson is locked in 🔒 He leads the Clippers with 20 PTS. https://t.co/gReUEDj8Y2

Luke Kennard, who started in place of George, caught fire in the second half and hit five of his six three-pointers.

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM

Clippers up 114-100 on Bucks with 6 minutes left. Without Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Serge Ibaka and Rajon Rondo, Clippers getting contributions from everywhere. Kawhi, Morris, Jackson all have 20 or more. Kennard has 18, Mann has 14 and Batum doing all the little glue things

Terance Mann also provided 14 valuable points off the bench to provide further support. The 24-year-old showed no fear in attacking the Milwaukee defense.


The mid-air adjustment from Terance Mann on @NBATV! Halftime: @LAClippers 57 @Bucks 55 https://t.co/2eaMAgLnHK

LA Clippers @LAClippers

Terance makes a play. Nico makes ‘em pay! @terance_mann 🤝 @nicolas88batum https://t.co/AJIkTMaevl

LA Clippers @LAClippers

TERANCE! COUNT IT! 🤯 📺 @FoxSportsWest | @terance_mann https://t.co/9hcPNiRJlz

Especially after Los Angeles' exit in the 2020 playoffs, some wondered whether Leonard had the demeanor to be the unquestioned No. 1 guy and team leader for a franchise with championship aspirations.

Following a lopsided loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on March 14, Leonard told reporters the Clippers' general inconsistency was "very concerning." It's probably not a total coincidence their hot stretch began shortly after those comments.


Bucks Defense Takes the Night Off

If you want to raise any alarm bells about the Bucks, then you might point to the fact that they've slipped from first (102.5) to eighth (109.6) in defensive rating, per NBA.com. That number won't improve after Monday night.

Milwaukee allowed Los Angeles to shoot 53.7 percent from the field and go 19-of-34 from beyond the arc. Los Angeles also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.

Eric Nehm @eric_nehm

The Clippers offensive rebound percentage has been at 33.3% for pretty much the entire game. Bucks have one of the league's best numbers at 22.9% for the season. Lopez is just getting no help on the glass tonight.

Eric Nehm @eric_nehm

And the Bucks are down 14, 114-100, with 6:01 left. They have gotten crushed on the glass and can't get stops.

One stat to truly sum things up is that the Bucks were minus-31 with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the floor.

Samuel H. Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

Bucks-Clippers is a two-point game. Thanasis Antetokounmpo's plus-minus is 25 points better than Giannis'. What a world.

The two-time reigning MVP filled up the stat sheet and provided some highlights, but his overall effect was muted because of his squad's collective struggles.

This outing presented a stark contrast between the two teams.

Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday combined for 71 points, which is probably a total that can get it done most nights. But the Clippers had strength in numbers, with five players scoring in double figures.


What's Next?

The Clippers continue their nine-game homestand Tuesday against the Orlando Magic. The Bucks remain in Southern California to play the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.