Lakers Vs. Bucks Preview: L.A. Returns To Staples Center After Road Trip
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The longest road trip of the season has finally come to an end and the Los Angeles Lakers have returned to Staples Center to play against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Lakers went 1-7 on their road trip, but the demotion of D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle to the bench and a horrible loss the the worst team in the NBA were the low points of the trip. However, unsuccessful the road trip may have been, there still were a few positive things that took place.

D’Angelo Russell’s demotion to the bench seemed to light a fire under him, and when he saw the floor, he looked like the player the Lakers were hoping he would become when they drafted him. In the wake of their worse lost of the season to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers defeated a tough Washington Wizards team. The Milwaukee Bucks are in town tonight, and they are riding the momentum of giving the previously undefeated Golden State Warriors their first loss of the season.

Frontcourt:

One of the most coveted free agents this offseason not named LaMarcus Aldridge was five-year veteran Greg Monroe. The Lakers tried to acquire Monroe, but he decided to take his talents to Milwaukee. Monroe is a 6’11” big man who clogs the paint and dares anyone to challenge him at the rim. He is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds this season and is a force to be reckoned with under the basket.

The Bucks have a one of a kind player in Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo starting next to Monroe. Antetokounmpo stands at 6’11 and starts at power forward, but he does a lot of his damage from the perimeter. He is an athletic slasher and he can guard any position on the floor. The 21-year-old is averaging 16 points and seven rebounds in his second season in the NBA.

Backcourt:

Starting at shooting guard for the Bucks is former USC Trojan, O.J. Mayo. Mayo is a dynamic two-guard who has a knack for scoring in a variety of ways. Mayo is a streaky shooter, but when his shot is falling, the Lakers better pay attention to him. Mayo is averaging a career-low 10 points per game this season, but he can still have a hot shooting night on occasion.

Jerryd Bayless is the usually the starting point guard for the Bucks, but due to injury, the young and talented Michael Carter-Williams will likely get the start. Carter-Williams turned some heads in his rookie season with the 76ers with big scoring performances early in the season. Since then, his efficiency tapered off, but Carter-Williams still shows plenty of promise to become an elite guard in the NBA.

Keys to Victory:

Quick Start: There have been countless games where the Lakers got down big early and then unsuccessfully attempted to play catch up. It is time for this team to come out with aggression and take control of the tempo early. If the Lakers can jump out to a quick start against the Bucks, they will set the tone of the game and earn their fourth victory of the season.

The Kobe and Russell Show: In recent games, D’Angelo Russell has looked like a completely different player. Prior to this boost in confidence, Russell talked about how there is ball movement without Kobe Bryant. Since that interview, Russell has looked great and Kobe has become a playmaker and a more efficient scorer. The two have played really well off of each other in recent games and they should continue to build chemistry on the court.

Enjoy the Process: The Lakers have been in search of an identity all season and it finally appears that they are developing a sense of who they are going to be. They are not going to be great just yet, but once they figure out who they are, the young Lakers core will be a tough team to matchup with in the future. With that being said, the Bucks are not a very talented team either, so this is a winnable game for Los Angeles. The Lakers should enjoy the process of finding their identity and have fun playing good basketball and the wins will start coming.

Los Angeles Lakers (3-21) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (10-15)
7:30 P.M. PST, December 14, 2015
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 (Spanish)

Bucks Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Michael Carter-Williams
SG: O.J. Mayo
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Greg Monroe

Key Reserves: PG: Grievis Vasquez, C: Miles Plumlee, PF: John Henson

Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Roy Hibbert

Key Reserves: PF: Julius Randle, SF: Nick Young, PG: D’Angelo Russell

Best for Russell to focus on ‘team play’ for this inconsistent/unproductive 2nd unit.

  • Very balanced game from the Lakers tonight. 6 players in Double-Figures led by another another Efficient night from Kobe.

  • Best game of the season. I love the way Kobe played. Russel is starting shine. Playing like a ROY contender

  • The bad thing about Kobe playing like this, is the fact i miss him already. I prefer hate him for his bad performance than remember why he is my favorite player of all time. I almost cry here

  • Yeah, looks like Kobe was just playing himself into shape. Would be great if he could play well for the rest of the season and end his career on a good note.

  • Lol, Scott might actually save his job and turn all this around. Looks like no Ben Simmons after all.

  • He’s letting the game come to him and facilitating early, it’s saving his energy and legs during the games. If he would of played like this earlier, we would probably be in the 7th or 8th spot and he would be at his normal 45-46%.

  • he’s going to be transcendent. kid doesn’t turn 20 until february. the thing i love most is his confidence. he doesn’t get rattled.

  • Very good game from the kids. Kobe has found his legs but he’s also playing team basketball. Fun game to watch.

  • Kobe has started to take the Lebron approach to the game. Just wish he would of done this earlier in the season. Facilitating early and getting other guys into a rhythm and also getting his while doing it efficiently.

  • That’s why we wanted to Lakers draft him. He’s so smooth and skilled. Kid will be a superstar

  • Their chemistry are coming along, they figure out how they can play each other there game is a give and take and i love it.

  • The 2nd unit needs someone who can develop plays for them b/c Lou isn’t that person when he’s @ the point.

  • The only thing i miss is Randle be more a passer. He’s a ball stopper at times and has a tunnel vision. But he will improve, just like Blake Griffin has done

  • I still think we can trade Clarkson. But i really like the cool relationship Clarkson has with D’angelo

  • For what? And… Why? Clarkson had a nice game coming off an injury. Smh, dude should stay.

  • Man, the Nuggets is at the 8 spot right now. They don’t have talent to be at this position. Utah, Phoenix and Sacramento has way more talent

  • Yall say Clarkson is a ballhog but what is Randle? Smh…dude get quadruple teamed and won’t pass but okay. Lol

  • I think he will be a very good player. But i think he’s a PG. We already have D’angelo… Clarkson can start for several teams in the NBA, but no for the Lakers (in the future)

  • Yeah. I said that here. Randle is a ball stopper and has a tunnel vision. But he will learn and his upside is amazing

  • Meh…The Nuggets still have 4-5 guys who were on that 56 win season a few yrs ago. And they are still missing Chandler who hasn’t played yet.

  • For what? What will we be getting back? Clarkson and Deangelo are COMBO GUARDS. Neither one of them are true point guards. They both can play together as you seen tonight. If we aren’t going to get a player that’s at least as solid as Clarkson then these trade talks can cease.

  • Give him 7-8 atleast if his not taking it, make a trade for a SF 3D type of player.

  • Nelson, Harris, Gallinari, Faried and Lauvergne was the starting 5 for them today. Just compare it with the Suns who have Bledsoe, Knight, Tucker, Markieff (i know he’s not playing) and Tyson

  • he’ll get there. he had that one nice dime to Dlo for a three late in the game. has to do more of that and he will.

  • he actually hit russell in the 4th quarter for an open three, which dloading canned.

  • I mean, only for the right deal. You don’t trade him for nothing. But if you can steal a guy like Terrence Jones. Just make it happen

  • After missing almost 2 years worth of basketball and conditioning Kobe is looking real good the last 4-6 games…..
    Russell is looking like a future star with superstar potential, I really like that he and Clarkson are finding some chemistry!!

  • Kobe also played smart he didnt force anything up.
    very smart basketball. we got a win and guys are playing well together.
    Go Lakers!!!!!

  • True, Randle can be a black hole at times. He can definitely pass though, so I think it’s more of him trying to get his stats up under his limited minutes.

  • If Kobe and Dangelo continue to play this well we might get some more wins.
    that or the bucks just suck without their big man greg monroe.
    either way i dont care a win is a win fellows.
    lets celebrate it now! and get another one tomorrow!

  • I don’t think its about the stats. I think Randle was the main guy of his team in his all life, and don’t developed his feel for the game that much.
    He will be fine with time and experience

  • So Russell doesn’t? I mean are yall actually watching the game? They both need the ball. They both played together and did well. If we trade, who do we get to fill the 2 guard spot? Overrated DeRozan who has to go ISO to score & can’t knock down a 3? Reddick who is on his way out?

  • Okay but that was in the 4th… we’re talking about all the other times he’d take a shot against 3-4 players.

  • They have some versatile guys, and have had a lot of different starting lineups so far. It’s still early, they’ll most likely fall off or not.

  • Lakers are not Trading Clarkson….Unless it’s a Super Good Deal…..Other than that….Straight Ahead…..The Bucks are not a Bad Team….GSW wish they would have played the way they did tonite…Sorry.

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