The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a 121-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. Julius Randle and Lou Williams led the team with 17 points a piece. The story of the game was the Lakers committed 21 turnovers, which forced the Lakers to play catch-up for most of the contest. D’Angelo Russell only scoring two points did not help either, but they have a chance to redeem themselves tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks are also coming off a loss, a 106-88 defeat to the Miami Heat. That was not the biggest loss the Bucks received on the night; it was Jabari Parker injuring his left knee. An MRI after the game revealed a torn ACL. It goes without saying he will be out for the remainder of the season, so it will be interesting how the Bucks try to fill his void.
Matthew Dellavedova and Tony Snell hold down the starting frontcourt for the Bucks. Dellavedova does not provide much offense, but he can facilitate the ball pretty well averaging 5.3 assists per game, which helps his teammates get open shots. He is a menace on the defensive end. He is not afraid to play hard against the best point guards in the league, and he often frustrates them through his aggressive style of play.
Snell also does not provide much offense, but he can shoot the ball well from three-point territory. He is shooting 38.7 percent from that distance this season. The defense also is his calling card. His 6’7” body frame allows him to make things difficult for offensive players.
Jason Terry and Malcolm Brogdon come off the bench for the Bucks. Even though Terry is one of the older players in the league, he is still one of the better shooters in the league. He is especially lethal from the three-point line. The Lakers must make sure he does not have a good shooting night. Brogdon is one of the best rookies this season. He is averaging 9.2 points and 4.2 assists per game. He is capable of lighting up the scoreboard, so it is important for the Lakers to keep a close eye on him.
The Lakers depend a lot on the production of D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young. For most of the season, they have delivered on the offensive end of the floor, but Russell continues to struggle with consistency. Against the Pistons, he had only two points. That is simply unacceptable for a player as good as he is. Hopefully, he can rebound tonight with a good game.
Young continues to be one of the Lakers better all-around players. He gives the team instant offense and provides a solid defensive presence. The better he plays, the better the Lakers are as a team. He will need to score some points tonight for the Lakers to come out victorious.
Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson also need to play well tonight off the bench for the Lakers. Williams is arguably the Lakers best player this season. He is consistent and can be counted to score a basket when the team needs it most. Clarkson, like Russell, needs to play better consistently. He needs to take care of the ball more because at the moment he seems to struggle in the turnover department.
The Bucks frontcourt is headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mirza Teletovic, who should start in place of Parker, and John Henson. Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the league. He is averaging 23.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. His defense can also be described as elite. The Lakers will have their hands full tonight on both ends of the floor with Antetokounmpo.
Teletovic is a solid shooter who can spread the floor for his team. He is averaging seven points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Whoever is guarding must make sure not to leave him open because he will take advantage. Henson is more of a defensive center. He only averages 7.1 points per game. He can alter shots close to the basket so the Lakers must find ways to get him away from the basket, so they have a better percentage of making their inside shots.
Greg Monroe and Michael Beasley are solid contributors off the bench for the Bucks. Monroe, who can start for almost any other team, is averaging 11.0 points per game. His big body frame allows him to bully his way toward the basket for easy scoring opportunities. He can not explode offensively if the Lakers want to win this game. Beasley can also knock down mid-range shots consistently. The Lakers need to be aware of where he is on the floor when he is in the game.
The new starting backcourt for the Lakers continues to play well. Brandon Ingram finished the game in Detroit with 15 points and five assists. Now that he is in a starting role, he needs to play well for the Lakers to have success. Hopefully, he can play replicate his performance from last game to tonight.
Tarik Black and Julius Randle are physical specimens who bring energy to the Lakers. Randle has also been one of the Lakers better players this season and has thrived under Luke Walton. He should be able to use his strength against Teletovic for high-percentage shot attempts. Black has also played well in a starting role. He finished with eight points and 10 rebounds against the Pistons on Wednesday night. He gives the Lakers a physical presence in the starting lineup that is sometimes needed to get a team going.
Ivica Zubac and Larry Nance Jr. continue to play well off the bench. Zubac shows he has what it takes to compete at the NBA level on a daily basis, which is a good sign heading when looking toward the future. Nance Jr. has been nothing short of fantastic for the Lakers this season. He has become a better offensive player, which has made him more of a threat when he is on the floor. If he continues to improve his midrange game, the Lakers might have no choice other than to start him.
Three Keys to Victory
The Lakers finished with 21 turnovers versus the Pistons on Wednesday that ultimately led to their defeat. Giving up that many turnovers make it difficult to beat any team in the NBA. Limiting turnovers should always be one of the objectives for every game played. The Lakers need to make sure they take care of the ball tonight against the likes of Dellavedova and Antetokounmpo.
More D’Angelo Russell Production
Russell needs to find a way to productive on the court tonight. If he plays anywhere near like he did last game, the Lakers will struggle once again. He is too good of a player to have a minimal impact during games. If his shot is not falling for him, he can contribute by playing good defense and setting up teammates for open looks.
Limit Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Impact
If Antetokounmpo can run wild tonight, the Lakers will find themselves in a difficult position. He is going to get his points, but the Lakers must make it tough for him to get those points. Also, the Lakers need to make sure to box him out during rebounds because if he can grab the ball and start a fast-break, the Lakers are in trouble.
Los Angeles Lakers (18-37) Vs. Milwaukee Bucks (22-29)
5:00 P.M. PST, February 10, 2017
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Bucks Starting Lineup:
PG: Matthew Dellavedova
SG: Tony Snell
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF: Mirza Teletovic
C: John Henson
Key Reserves: Greg Monroe, Michael Beasley, Jason Terry, and Malcolm Brogdon
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Nick Young
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Julius Randle
C: Tarik Black
Key Reserves: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Lou Williams, Luol Deng, and Ivica Zubac