Wednesday night marked the debut of Andre Drummond with the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center. Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis though, it did not make much of a difference. Drummond getting hurt himself didn’t help either, and the result was a 112-97 loss for the Lakers.
Drummond made an immediate impact in his first game with the Lakers, blocking a shot at the rim, drawing a charge and making a push shot from the free-throw line in the first few minutes. The rest of Los Angeles was able to get going from the 3-point line, giving the team an early 17-11 lead.
Wesley Matthews was a big spark off the bench, nailing a pair of 3-pointers and playing hard defense to keep the Lakers ahead. L.A. drained a season-high for 3-pointers in any quarter (8) and went into the second with a 30-24 lead.
Head coach Frank Vogel decided to use his challenge at the top of the quarter after Matthews was called for a foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo, and ended up winning it. However, Matthews was forced to leave the game after being elbowed in the head and the Bucks began to close the gap as they found success attacking the middle of the paint and getting all the way to the cup.
Milwaukee eventually took back the lead as Khris Middleton began to heat up from the field, taking advantage of the smaller Los Angeles defenders. The Lakers struggled to get much going against the Bucks defense and as a result, they went into the half trailing 57-49.
Montrezl Harrell started in place of Drummond to begin the second half as the latter was getting worked on on the bench, and the Bucks immediately upped their lead to 10.
Drummond was eventually able to return, but Milwaukee’s defense prevented Los Angeles from making a dent in the deficit. Drummond’s return was short-lived as he wound up being forced to leave for good with a right big toe contusion early in the third quarter.
Harrell was able to put some points on the board for the Lakers in Drummond’s absence, but the Bucks had no issues scoring in the paint on the other end. Los Angeles’ shooting struggles continued and they found themselves down 89-75 heading into the final period. At one point, the Lakers went 2-for-23 from the 3-point line as their deficit continued to grow larger.
The Lakers managed to cut into the Bucks lead at the top of the fourth, but the latter battled back to stay well ahead. Even when Los Angeles was finally able to score, Milwaukee was able to respond immediately and prevent a run.
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