Clippers run out of gas in Milwaukee, lose 113-106

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Another devastating collapse in the fourth quarter dooms Clippers.

MILWAUKEE – After one of their best wins of the year on Sunday in Minnesota, the Clippers were looking to keep the momentum going. After a great three quarters, it was another fourth quarter collapse, the second in the past week. The Clippers got great performances by James Harden and Paul George, with each putting up 29 points, but ultimately missed execution on offense and lazy defense buried them on the second night of a back to back.

The Clippers are now 39-21 and are the 4th seed in the Western Conference.

Here are my three takeaways:

December and January were the best months in the Clippers’ franchise history, but since the team returned from the Grammy trip, it has been a run of mediocrity on both ends. The Clippers are in the middle to back of the pack in both offensive and defensive rating since early February. 

The brutal loss against the Lakers should’ve been a wake up call, but Monday’s loss to the Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton could be the worst of the season. 

The Clippers still hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but this was an excellent chance to gain ground on a top three seed, and they failed to do so for the second time in a matter of a week. If this team is serious about being a contender for a championship, something has to change down the stretch and it has to happen quickly. 

Although Kawhi Leonard (16 points) had a subpar offensive night on Monday, the supporting cast just did not show up. Norman Powell stepped up with 24 points on Sunday against the Timberwolves, but only had 6 against the Bucks. Amir Coffey was crucial against Minnesota, but was an offensive no show on Monday. 

Bones Hyland has entered the rotation and provided quality minutes, but did not see the floor much in the second half. These players are going to have to contribute more, especially with Russell Westbrook out for an extended period of time.

Westbrook fractured his left hand in the blowout win against the Washington Wizards, and had surgery on Monday to repair it. He is expected to miss a little over a month of time and the Clippers are hopeful to have him back for the first round of the playoffs. Westbrook has been the heart and soul for this Clipper team and his defense as a guard was crucial against Western Conference opponents. 

Now, Bones Hyland will re-assume his role as the backup point guard and try to provide some outside scoring and pace to the bench unit.

The Clippers will now travel to Houston to take on the Rockets on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 4:30 PM PST.