The Clippers might have preferred their next home game was played in Milwaukee.
It’s nothing against their fans or the energy they feel inside Staples Center, it’s just that their game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night is sandwiched between trips to the Midwest and Southwest, making it feel like another road game.
The Clippers flew home from Detroit on Monday night after an overtime victory over the Pistons, arriving back in Southern California early Tuesday morning. They will depart for a two-game Texas trip not long after playing the Bucks at Staples Center a little more than 24 hours later.
“This is as tough of a home game as we’ve had in a long time,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “I mean, because we’re packing the day of the home game to leave again.”
Logistically speaking, it would have been easier to fly from Detroit to Milwaukee and then to San Antonio for the start of the Clippers’ next trip, which includes games against the Spurs on Friday and the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
Rivers said he lobbied to have the game against the Bucks moved when the NBA schedule was released last summer, but his request was denied because of arena availability.
The Bucks will also have the memory of the Clippers’ recent win in Milwaukee as motivation and are coming off having just beaten Golden State to end the Warriors’ 24-0 start to the season.
“They’re sky-high now,” Rivers said, “and we’re going to have to find it because that’s going to be a tough one.”
Said Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick: “Just because they beat the Warriors doesn’t mean we are going to give them more attention. We’re going to give them our full attention, like we do almost every team.”
Drawing the line
It was a simple plan: Austin Rivers would jump on the back of Detroit’s Andre Drummond to commit a foul that would send the notoriously poor shooter to the free-throw line with the Clippers trailing by two points and 25 seconds left in regulation Monday.
Then Drummond switched sides in the lane, aligning himself next to Clippers forward Blake Griffin, and chaos ensued. Rivers crossed sides to get next to Drummond, who moved across the lane once again. Officials informed Rivers he couldn’t move any more.
“They told me that the inside team gets the first choice and then you have to stay still,” Doc Rivers said afterward, relaying how the officials explained the situation to him.
The Clippers then had Redick take Griffin’s spot next to Drummond so that he could jump on his shoulder, with Redick placing his arm around the big man’s neck.
“I still don’t think they quite understood we were going to do that,” Redick said of the Pistons. “They were all like, ‘I didn’t even know that was a legal play.’ But it was a great call by Doc. It gave us a chance to be down three and go for the tie.”
Drummond made one of two free throws before Redick buried the three-pointer that tied the score to force overtime in the Clippers’ eventual 105-103 triumph.
The no-trade restriction lifted Tuesday on Josh Smith, Paul Pierce, Wesley Johnson, Pablo Prigioni and Cole Aldrich after the Clippers signed them as free agents over the summer. Luc Mbah a Moute cannot be traded until Dec. 25 because he signed shortly before training camp and Austin Rivers and DeAndre Jordan cannot be traded until Jan. 15 because of rules related to the salary cap.… The Clippers did not practice Tuesday.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Bucks 10-15 ; Clippers 15-10.
Record vs. Bucks: 1-0.
Update: J.J. Redick scored 15 of his 31 points in the third quarter to help the Clippers beat the Bucks, 109-95, in Milwaukee on Dec. 10 during a five-game trip in which they were 4-1. The Bucks had lost seven of 10 games before a 108-95 victory over Golden State on Saturday that ended the Warriors’ record winning streak to start a season at 24 games.