Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) shoots during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center
The Los Angeles Clippers have veterans and the Milwaukee Bucks have young players, but both clubs won their last games with strong play down the stretch.
The Clippers are hoping Chris Paul and J.J. Redick will shoot better in their second games back from injury as they visit the Bucks on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (12-9) outscored Minnesota 15-8 in the final 52 seconds for Monday’s 110-106 victory to open this five-game trip. Redick was 7 for 7 from the line in that stretch.
"We just closed out the game," coach Doc Rivers said. "We executed. We got every shot. We got every stop. That’s how you end games."
Paul was originally going to miss his third straight game with a rib injury before he opted to play. He made 5 of 14 shots for 14 points with five assists.
"I did a little bit, wanted to see how it felt this morning," he said. "Then I came over here this afternoon by myself with the trainer and got up and down a little bit, and I said I wanted to play."
Redick was listed as questionable with a sprained ankle, but started and played 21 minutes. He made 1 of 9 shots from the field but converted all 11 free throws for 14 points.
Rivers credited Paul’s presence down the stretch as a key to the victory. The point guard Paul faces at the start of Wednesday’s contest likely won’t be who he matches up with when the game is on the line.
Milwaukee (9-13) continues to use Michael Carter-Williams off the bench, though the third-year guard played the entire fourth quarter of Monday’s 90-88 home win over Portland. Carter-Williams assisted on Greg Monroe’s layup with 5.9 seconds left that put the Bucks ahead for good.
"If you ask a lot of the stars in this league, they all relish in the last six minutes of the game," coach Jason Kidd said. "And so for Michael, not starting but being able to finish games is what the team maybe needs at this point. I’m not saying he won’t get back in the starting lineup but he made some plays late and that’s what we needed."
Kidd may be correct since all five starters scored in double figures Monday. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 and Monroe finished with 16 and 12 rebounds. O.J. Mayo has been the starting point guard the last two games with Jerryd Bayless out with a left ankle sprain and Tyler Ennis sidelined with a sore left shoulder.
The Bucks scored the game’s final six points in the last 17 seconds.
"We’re so young, we’re going to make mistakes on the offensive and defensive end but I think tonight was a sign of staying together," Kidd said.
Milwaukee is third-worst in the league with a minus-4.2 rebound margin, and Los Angeles is second-worst at minus-4.6.
The Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan is among the league leaders with 13.1 boards per game, though he had none in the fourth quarter Monday.
Los Angeles has won six of the last seven meetings, though it has dropped four of its last six at Milwaukee.