The Los Angeles Lakers stood at 1-6 on the road before this game tipped-off, and they were hoping to carry their momentum of Wednesday night’s win over the Clippers to Milwaukee. The Lakers struggled to begin games this season on the road, and they needed a strong start tonight against the Bucks.
Although the Bucks were without Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, they still had a capable Brandon Jennings and a supporting cast that could shoot the ball extremely well.
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The Los Angeles Lakers made it a priority to feed the ball to their big men and the Bucks’ front-court had no answer for the two seven footers. Kobe Bryant was not looking for his shot in the opening minutes, instead trying to give post positions to either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol.
The Lakers opened up the game on a 6-0 run, and all six points came from Gasol and Bynum. The Bucks started the game 0-5 from the field and could not shoot over the Lakers’ length.
However, the Bucks began to dissect the defense and were connecting on their perimeter shots. Brandon Jennings used his quickness to get past Derek Fisher, and thanks to a Drew Gooden jump-shot, the Bucks cut the lead to 12-9 with 5:48 left in the quarter.
The Bucks kept attacking the Lakers and they got most of their points in the open-court. Milwaukee was using its speed and energy to counter the size of the Lakers down-low. The Bucks eventually took the lead in the final minute of the first quarter and they headed to the bench with a surprising 27-23 lead.
Although the Lakers had a clear advantage in the paint, they got away from the game plan that got them the lead. Los Angeles began to shoot outside shots, and as a result, the Bucks countered and got the lead.
After 12 minutes, Kobe Bryant had six point and Bynum put in seven himself. The Lakers shot 39 percent from the field while the Bucks found a way to raise their percentage to 48.
The Bucks opened up the quarter well and the Lakers were getting out-played and out-hustled. The Lakers’ only reliable scorer on the court was Pau Gasol, and the team struggled to find a shot. As for the Bucks, they were cutting and passing the ball well, and took over the momentum of the game. The Bucks went on a 17-0 run and at the 9:53 mark of the second quarter held a 34-23 lead.
The Lakers did begin to refer back to their big-men, and Kobe Bryant was once again willing to give the ball to Gasol and Bynum on the low block. However, the Bucks answered nearly every shot by the Lakers and their four three-point makes were key to their lead. The Lakers were having trouble scoring the ball and had difficulties preventing the Bucks on the other side of the court. Midway into the second quarter, the Lakers were at just 39 percent shooting while the Bucks were at 56 percent and leading 45-32.
The Lakers were trading buckets with the Bucks all quarter long and could not do enough to put together a run. The Bucks were hitting on their shots and the Lakers could not do anything to stop them on that end of the court.
However, the Lakers went on a diminutive run to end the first half and were trailing just 51-43 after 24 minutes. The Lakers committed 11 turnovers, whereas the Bucks had only four, but they were still in striking distance.
The Lakers were clearly more assertive in the opening minutes of the third quarter, and Kobe Bryant made an effort to get himself some points. The Lakers big men also stepped up their level of intensity and at the 9:05 mark of the period, the Lakers cut the deficit down to six, 55-49.
Still, the Lakers had trouble stopping the Bucks and could not get enough going to take the lead. The Lakers’ big three were getting the points, but they could not come together and stop the Bucks from getting theirs. It seemed as though Kobe would take over the game, but the Lakers’ 12 turnovers and inefficient play hurt them dearly. With 6:54 left in the third quarter, the Bucks brought their lead back up to eight, 63-55.
The Bucks were also getting into the open floor and their 15-2 advantage in fast-break points helped them maintain their lead. Milwaukee was clearly the more youthful team, and that helped them take a 70-61 lead with about four minutes remaining in the period.
However, after the timeout the Lakers got their game together and Kobe decided to take the game over. Luckily, Bryant got help from his other players and rookie Andrew Goudelock had another impressive outing. The rookie drilled three three-pointers and that helped the Lakers cut the lead down to three, 76-73.
After 36 minutes, the Bucks’ double-digit lead was cut down and thanks to a buzzer-beating shot by Ersan Ilyasva, Milwaukee headed into the final period up 80-73.
Even with Milwaukee Bucks’ star Brandon Jennings on the bench resting, the Lakers could not capitalize and failed to retake the lead. The Lakers were having trouble making their shots and Metta World Peace was not helping the cause by jacking up three-pointers. With only 8:23 left in the game, the Lakers were still trailing and needed a spark to erase the 83-75 deficit.
On a side note, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West for most free throws made in Lakers history in the fourth quarter off a technical foul free-throw attempt.
The Lakers stepped up late in the fourth quarter and Kobe Bryant was beginning to find a groove on the offensive end. However, no matter how Bryant was shooting, the Lakers could do nothing about the Bucks on the other end of the court. Drew Gooden was having his way with Gasol and Bynum, and his 22 points gave the Bucks a 91-81 lead with 3:17 left to play.
The Lakers could not do enough to overcome the large deficit and the Bucks rode the momentum to the final buzzer. The Bucks had control over the game for the majority of time and did not panic when the Lakers made their runs. Despite the fact that Milwaukee did not have Bogut or Jackson, it still found a way to beat the Lakers.
After an impressive win over the Clippers, the Lakers could not repeat their performance and lost tonight, 100-89.
Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 27 points, followed by Bynum with 15. As a team, the Lakers committed 15 turnovers and shot 44 percent from the floor.
The Lakers will be back in action tomorrow night at 4:00 p.m. PST when they travel to Minnesota to play Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
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Congratulations to Nicolas Pandaan for correctly guessing which Laker would score the first three-pointer (Goudelock), dunk (Bynum), and steal (Fisher). You have 24 hours to contact Lakers Nation to collect your prize!