NBA

'Awful' Clippers give Giannis birthday gift as Bucks make it 14 in a row

By Sports Desk December 07, 2019

Doc Rivers felt the Los Angeles Clippers had given Giannis Antetokounmpo "a birthday gift" with their dreadful performance as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a 14th consecutive NBA victory.

On his 25th birthday, reigning league MVP Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in only 26 minutes as the Bucks cruised to a 119-91 home win.

An emphatic victory in a game between two teams expected to compete for a place in the NBA Finals saw the Bucks move to 20-3 while the Clippers fell to 16-7.

Rivers' team have gone 3-6 on the road and star duo Kawhi Leonard (17) and Paul George (13) were restricted to 30 points between them before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.

"It was Giannis' birthday, and we searched all over the city to find a gift, couldn't find one, so we gave him this one," coach Rivers said, per ESPN, after Friday's loss.

"That's all I can come up with because we were awful. They were so much more physical than us. It was not even close.

"We have not maximised them [Leonard and George] offensively yet.

"We keep looking at our offensive numbers, and I've been saying it: It's fool's gold. We're not ready offensively yet. Our numbers say different but this is where analytically, I'm right. I can see it."

Leonard and George also had five turnovers each in the Clippers' worst loss of the season.

"We just have to get comfortable with the plays," Leonard said of playing with George. "Just going out there and being able to run it without thinking, getting into our spots early. The flow will come.

"We're just a work in progress. This team has been put together this year. 

"We've got to figure it out. Some of us don't know the plays coming down, and it's hard to get in our sets. We've just got to keep striving."

The Bucks' 14 consecutive wins is their best streak since 1973, with Antetokounmpo their driving force.

"The fans were unbelievable," the Greek said. "They made me feel special. They made this day feel special. 

"Usually a lot of people, their birthday, they celebrate, they go out, they do all that. But that's not me. That's not what I do. But the fans made it really special for me."

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    Portland lost CJ McCollum to a left ankle sprain in the second quarter and he did not return to the game. It is unclear if he will be fit to face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

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