After a disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers now begin a seven-game road trip that kicks off with a huge matchup of championship favorites.
The Lakers start their road trip in Milwaukee against the Bucks, and that marks a homecoming for veteran Wesley Matthews. Matthews grew up in Wisconsin and attended the University of Marquette for four years.
He then returned there as a pro last season when he joined the Bucks and started every game, so he is very aware of what that team brings to the table.
“We’ve got to bounce back from that Golden State loss,” Matthews said. “We’ve got a tough road trip ahead of us, starting with Milwaukee. They’ve got great players all across the board, great team.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
The two teams went into this campaign as the favorites to walk away with the Larry O’Brien trophy and both matchups last season were back-and-forth games with each team winning on their home court.
Thursday’s game will be the Lakers’ second against another team considered a championship favorite, but Matthews dismissed the idea of having an easy schedule so far.
“I think every game is a test. Every game presents a different challenge. We can only play who’s on our schedule,” he said. “That’s all we can focus on and worry about. We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup as well, and it’s not like we’re the same team that came back from last season.
“No one has really given us the benefit of the doubt, we’re not really giving anyone else the benefit of the doubt. The season is what is and we’re excited for every game.”
This road trip looks to be a major point in this early season for the Lakers. In addition to the opening contest against the Bucks, the Lakers will also head to Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta.
They have the best record in the NBA, and though Matthews and others dismiss the idea of an easy schedule, there is no doubt that the Lakers will face a number of the best teams the Eastern Conference has to offer during this trip.
But first and foremost the Lakers must handle the Bucks led by reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and it’s likely that Matthews will spend some time defending his former teammate.
In prior seasons the Lakers’ annual Grammy road trip helped to bring the team together and this could do the same.
Davis says Lakers feel pressure to defeat Bucks
One thing that has held true for the Lakers over the past couple of seasons is that the team rarely loses back-to-back games. They take defeats very seriously and most of the time bounce back in a big way.
Davis already said L.A. is putting pressure on themselves to come away with a win in Milwaukee to kick off their road trip.
“We know teams are going to come out and play their best against us, but the way we lost we don’t like,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got to look back at the film and see where we can be better, but we’ve always bounced back.
“We don’t like losing two in a row, so our next game, we’re going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win that game. Nobody in that locker room likes to lose.”
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