The Milwaukee Bucks begin a three-game tour of California on Wednesday with a visit to the Los Angeles Clippers. With four wins in a row and momentum building after the acquisition of guard J.J. Redick, Milwaukee goes for a signature road win but will find resistance in a Clippers team coming off a painful loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now two games back of the Thunder, Vinny Del Negro's squad will go for a rebound victory against a different Milwaukee team than they sacked 111-85 back in December.
Scott Skiles is out as head coach, and Jim Boylan is in. Monta Ellis is in a groove, having scored no less than 22 points in his last five games. The addition of Redick has given the Bucks another dimension in the scoring department, and the former Orlando Magic guard is averaging 15.4 points with his new squad. And with Redick giving the Bucks another scorer, that's led to the emergence of Brandon Jennings' passing ability.
Milwaukee is coming off two overtime victories in a row, first against the Toronto Raptors and most recently on Monday against the Utah Jazz. In those games, Jennings produced 19 and 17 assists respectively.
That of course, will probably need to continue if Jennings hopes to negate the stat line from opposing point guard Chris Paul.
Keys to the game
In the teams' first meeting this season, Paul contributed 13 assists and 10 points on 10 shots, leading a balanced Clippers attack in a route of the Bucks, who in that game shot just 36 percent from the field.
Bench scoring has also been an issue for the Bucks this season, though Redick has helped in that regard to some degree. The Clippers scored 53 bench points against Milwaukee in the teams' first meeting this season, but Los Angeles also used its athletic front line of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to magnify the shooting discrepancy. Los Angeles shot nearly 54 percent from the floor as their big man duo went 14-of-22 to combine for 33 points and 22 rebounds.
Milwaukee will need better production from the undersized frontcourt of Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Ultimately, how that poorly-matched up group can defend the Clippers, especially Griffin in the pick-and-roll, could be key.
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports Wisconsin / Prime Ticket
Odds: The Clippers opened as 9-point favorites.