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21 Mar 2018

Los Angeles Clippers vs Milwaukee Bucks: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/21/18

Los Angeles (37-33) remained 2.5 games behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference following their fourth straight loss, a 123-109 setback at Minnesota on Tuesday night.

DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead six players in double figures, but supersub Lou Williams was held to four-of-11 shooting and finished with 15 points. The Clippers, though, again struggled defensively as the Timberwolves shot 52.3 percent and knocked down ten 3-pointers.

It was the third straight game Los Angeles allowed 120 or more points, and opponents have hit 40.7 percent of their 3-point shots and 50.4 percent overall. They have given up 160 points in the paint in those three losses, and that average of 53.3 points is well above their season mark of 43.7 per game.

Milwaukee's chances of winning the Central Division took a severe hit with a 124-117 loss at Cleveland on Monday night. The Bucks (37-33) are four games behind the Cavaliers with 12 games remaining and have slipped behind Miami into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but they are a comfortable six games better than ninth-place Detroit.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Khris Middleton added 30 points. The duo hit 24 of 36 shots, but the rest of the team combined to make 21 of 52, and LeBron James caused Milwaukee's defense fits as he finished a triple-double of 40 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists.

The defense once thought improved after Joe Prunty replaced Jason Kidd as head coach has regressed significantly. They have given up an average of 111.4 points in losing eight of their last 12 games compared to yielding 98.5 points per game in the first 11 games following Kidd's firing.