Groundhog Day in the Eastern Conference.
The Clippers come to town, face struggling team and end up staggering themselves, playing a predictable offense and a limited amount of defense.
Blake Griffin makes a worthy highlight-reel play. The crowd swoons, files away the memory for posterity and goes home happy when the Clippers eventually crumble.
On Monday night, it happened again as the Milwaukee Bucks won, 102-78, at the Bradley Center, handing the Clippers their third consecutive loss and putting another debit on L.A.'s road-challenged resume.
Carlos Delfino made a career-high seven three-point baskets, finishing with 26 points to help lead Milwaukee. Griffin had his 46th double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
There was a telling example of the Griffin Effect.
The Clippers' Randy Foye was booed by the crowd for not passing back to Griffin on a fastbreak and going in for the layup himself with 1 minute 16 seconds left in the second quarter.
"I wouldn't want him to pass back. I guess the crowd thought he was going to do something cool," Griffin said.
That's as vociferous as a crowd on the road has been about not getting to see a potential Griffin highlight. They were rewarded in the final minute of the half with a remarkable alley-oop combination between Griffin and Baron Davis. Davis tossed a long pass from several steps behind the half-court line.
When Griffin put it down, the appreciation was loud. Not Staples Center loud, but impressive for a crowd on the road.
Delfino had a big second half, scoring 21 points, and Brandon Jennings got it going early with 11 points in the first quarter on his way to a 20-point performance. Milwaukee outscored the Clippers, 31-13, in the fourth quarter.
But these were the same Bucks the Clippers managed to beat even without the injured Eric Gordon, not that long ago, at home. That was before this march through the wilderness started nearly two weeks ago in Atlanta. Since then, the Clippers have managed one win in the seven road games.
Not only that, there are other causes for concern; among them, more injuries.
Davis started the trip with an injured back and is finishing it with a sore knee, the same ailment that took him out early in the season.
"Baron gave us what he could. Ryan Gomes gave us what he could, but we couldn't get any good movement with the basketball on the offensive end and then we made a couple of turnovers, got us on our heels," Coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Heavy minutes in the absence of the injured Gordon have taken a toll on Davis, who had 22 points and six assists in 36-plus minutes.
"It hurts like hell," Davis said. "It hurts when I'm out there. I'm just restricted. It's swollen. I tell the coaches every day, 'I'm going to come to the gym every day, prepare and give you what I have.'
"When I sit down on the bench, it stiffens up. When I'm out there with adrenaline, I can keep going. It's just like halftime, sitting on the bench for long stretches. Because we are undermanned, I asked Coach to play more minutes. That's contributing to it."