The Los Angeles Lakers got their seven-game road trip off to an excellent start while also avoiding losing back-to-back games. An astounding night from 3-point range to go along with great performances from LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope carried the Lakers to a 113-106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Both the Lakers and Bucks started the game by attacking the paint offensively, leading to excellent results. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis were a combined 6-for-6 in the first five minutes of the game, and the Bucks led 16-13 at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter.
The Lakers were able to heat up from three with a couple of baskets from Wesley Matthews and they shot 50% from long range in the quarter. However, 60% shooting from the Bucks in the first — to go along with a near perfect nine-minute sequence by Antetokounmpo — gave Milwaukee a 33-29 lead after one. Davis and James combined for 15 of L.A.’s 29 points.
The second quarter saw LeBron James take complete control on offense, scoring the first eight points, including two 3s. It was more of the same defensively, as the Bucks’ paint attack continued to cause problems for the Lakers.
Fast-break points were also a major issue for L.A., as they trailed 14-0 in that category midway through the second quarter. At the six-minute mark, the Bucks led 46-41.
A scary moment came after a Lakers timeout when Montrezl Harrell took an elbow to the face from Antetokounmpo. After struggling to get up, Harrell was able to remain in the game while Antetokounmpo received a Flagrant 1 for the hit.
The final six minutes of the half were a back-and-forth battle, but a late 16-6 run allowed the Lakers to gain a rare lead. They were able to hold on to that advantage all the way through the end of the second quarter, and led 63-57 thanks to a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope buzzer-beating 3. The six-point lead was their biggest of the game at that stage.
The Lakers started the second half on a 6-0 run to stretch their lead to a dozen. However, the Bucks responded immediately by cutting the lead to three within a couple minutes. Caldwell-Pope caught fire from 3 in the first half of the third quarter, going 3-of-3 from deep to bring his total to 6-for-7 through his first 21 minutes.
For the remainder of the quarter the Lakers were unable to gain significant separation. Meanwhile, the Bucks couldn’t close the gap any further than the three-point deficit they faced earlier. At the end of three, the Lakers led 86-81.
The combination of James, Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and Markieff Morris played remarkably well to begin the fourth quarter. They extended the lead to 11 points before Davis came in to replace Morris. L.A. did not miss a beat after that substitution, leading 100-91 at the six-minute mark.
The Bucks used a 9-0 run to get right back into the game, but a Caldwell-Pope 3 stopped their momentum. L.A. held a five-point lead with 2:30 to go. Caruso — who had been making plays all night on the defensive end — showed up on offense in a big way in the final minute, as he and James connected on 3-pointers to essentially put the game away.
The Lakers were able to hold on against an Eastern Conference contender in the Bucks to win their 12th game of the season. James led the way 34 points, five rebounds and eight assists.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!