Author: Nick Osen
MILWAUKEE – On a Flashback Friday at the Bradley Center, the overwhelming flashback in everyone’s head was the season plus-ending injury to Jabari Parker, suffered just two nights before on the night of Khris Middleton’s season debut. Parker was the topic, but the Bucks had a new game to play, as they played host to the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time in the post-Kobe era. When it was all said and done, the Lakers came away with the victory, 122-114.
From the jump, the BMO Harris crowd, and thus the team, started off absolutely lifeless. Players like Nick “Swaggy P” Young and D’angelo Russell were doing whatever they wanted out on the floor, leading the Lakers to a 17-7 lead in under four minutes of play.
Los Angeles nearly could not miss a shot in the first quarter, shooting 82% from the field and 86% from deep. The lone Bucks positives were Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring 13 and Middleton hitting a three. On the other side, Young didn’t miss and seven-footer Ivica Zubac scored seven consecutive points, leading the Lakers to a 47-30 lead after one.
The second quarter got off to a promising start for Milwaukee, as veteran Michael Beasley and rookie Malcolm Brogdon combined for 12 quick points, but the team defense really could not get multiple stops to trim the deficit. Midway through the second, the Bucks trailed by 17.
Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the rest of the first half didn’t really get any better. Giannis had 17 and two assists at the break, but the home Bucks trailed 76-55, after shooting just 17% from three while the Lakers shot nearly 63% from beyond the arc.
The beginning of the third quarter got off to such a bad start, that after Young scored his 23rd point about three minutes in, he started galloping and dancing down the court. Some highlight plays were provided by fan favorite Thon Maker, as well as the Greek Freak, who had 31 points, four boards and four assists at the end of the third. Heading into the final quarter, Milwaukee trailed 103-84.
Within the first four minutes of the fourth period, the Bucks went on a 9-2 run to bring themselves within 12, 105-93. Milwaukee was playing with nothing to lose, and the Lakers got conservative, as the Bucks clawed back to just six down with under three minutes left in the game.
The Bradley Center certainly came alive at this point, as they got loud and truly had the belief that the home team was going to come all the way back, and they almost did. Nevertheless, it was just a little too late, as Los Angeles finished off the contest with the win, 122-114.
A couple positives for the Bucks were the fight and heart they showed in the second half, as well as their best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, setting a new career-high with 41 points. When asked about his performance, Antetokounmpo directed it back to the team, saying, “At the end of the day, you just want the win. The Lakers are not a playoff team right now…it would be better if we got the win.”
With the loss, Milwaukee falls to 22-30 on the season, and will take on the Pacers in Indiana tomorrow night to complete the back-to-back.