After a relatively easy start to the 2020-2021 season, the Los Angeles Lakers head to Milwaukee on Thursday night to take on the Bucks as they begin their march into a more difficult February schedule.
Both the Lakers and Bucks attempt to avoid back-to-back losses after falling to the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, respectively. Last season, the Lakers prided themselves on not losing two straight games and seek to continue the feat this season.
Los Angeles has not lost two games in a row since Aug. 8, 2020, and has no plans of ending the streak on Thursday night.
The Bucks are led by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and two time All-Star Kris Middleton. Their supporting cast consists of Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Donte DiVincenzo.
Milwaukee is 3-1 in their last four games and is looking for a statement win against the reigning champions. The Bucks are 6-1 at home, there they average 120.4 points per game this season.
The Bucks are ranked second in offensive efficiency to go along with a top-10 defensive efficiency as well. The team runs their offense primarily through Antetokounmpo but has surrounded the MVP with weapons in Middleton and Holiday. Milwaukee ranks second in 3-point percentage, shooting 40.3% .
The Lakers look to preserve their undefeated 7-0 road record after falling to the Warriors at Staples Center on Monday.
The Lakers remain on top of the rankings for defensive efficiency and second for team field goal percentage. After subpar performances against the Warriors, Los Angeles will look for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to come out aggressive and set the tone team.
The keys to success for the Lakers are controlling the interior on both ends of the floor and closing out shooters while on the defensive end. Milwaukee and Los Angeles are two of the best interior teams in the league and it should be a battle for boards and positioning.
The Bucks are strong at attacking the basket and kicking to open shooters, so the Lakers will need to focus on proper rotations and closing out on shooters.
While a game this early in the season often has little importance, a win against a solid Bucks team could give the Lakers the confidence they need heading into a more difficult stretch of their schedule.
Lakers(11-4) vs. Bucks(9-5)
4:30 p.m. PT, January 21, 2020
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schröder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezzl Harrel, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris
Projected Bucks Starting Lineup
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Donte DiVincenzo
SF: Kris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez
Key Reserves: D.J. Augustin, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, Bryn Forbes
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