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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Bucks – Game 56

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (25-31) | Milwaukee Bucks (38-17)

 

Without LeBron James and their newest additions, the Lakers crumbled late as Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to victory 115-106

 

Lakers vs Bucks
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

The shorthanded Lakers lost without LeBron James and their newcomers to drop their record to 25-31. They have now lost three straight games. Giannis Antetokounmpo proved too much for the undermanned Lakers, as he totaled 38 points (61% FGs), ten rebounds, and six assists.

Darvin Ham postgame told reporters, “I’m totally proud of the way we competed, and we’ll figure it out.”

King James was ruled out vs. Milwaukee due to left ankle soreness. The Lakers’ new additions, of course, didn’t play. Darvin Ham said that Golden State is “definitely” on the table for the new Lakers making their season debut, except for Mo Bamba, who still has two games to serve on an NBA suspension.

The list of available Lakers vs. the Bucks were Anthony Davis, Rui Hachimura, Dennis Schroder, Troy Brown Jr., Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves, Wenyen Gabriel, Max Christie, Cole Swider, and Scotty Pippen Jr., with the latter being the only Laker not to log any game time.

Reaves seemed to have found his rhythm early in his second game since returning from a hamstring injury, as he already had eight points (2-2 from three) plus an assist to Gabriel for a layup that put LA up by six. The Lakers were plus five on the glass, with four offensive boards (two from Gabriel).

At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers led 31-26. The Lakers only had eight official roster players available due to James’ injury and their trades. Despite that, they played an excellent first frame. Davis had eight points and four rebounds. At the same time, Reaves had eight points off the bench. The Lakers shot 51.9% from the field, while the Bucks were 4-15 from beyond the arc.

 

The Lakers were playing free and loose, as the crowd enjoyed a slick crossover from Reaves with Antetokounmpo guarding him and the ensuing finish. You’ve got to love Reaves’ confidence, as he showed no fear taking on the two-time NBA MVP. Reaves looked great after a month-plus absence.

 

Lakers vs Bucks
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

It was nice to see someone of relative size guarding a player like Khris Middleton. Since we should now be past the days of the horrendous three or four-guard lineups. Brown plays with a lot of confidence, as most players should. For Brown, in particular, it doesn’t always turn out well, but he at least displays that he isn’t scared.

Davis drew his second charge of the season on a drive from Antetokounmpo. He’s more likely to contest or block a shot. However, that enabled Reaves to hit his third triple over Jrue Holiday to end the half. He wasn’t scared at all of Milwaukee’s main defensive players.

At halftime, the score was Lakers 58, Bucks 50. Reaves and Schroder led the Lakers with 13 points each. Davis wasn’t far behind with 12 points and eight rebounds. The Bucks shot 5-28 from three in the first half, while the Lakers outrebounded them, the best rebounding team in the league, 26-22, including eight offensive rebounds.

A crucial turning point of the game was a series of fouls called on the Lakers, highlighted by AD receiving his fourth foul on a miscommunication between him and Reaves on a pick-and-roll play. Milwaukee used that to its advantage and took over in the third quarter. Their 38-23 margin turned LA’s eight-point lead at the break into a seven-point deficit at 88-81.

Cole Swider got some minutes to begin the fourth quarter, and he showed some heart when he wrestled with the Greek Freak for a loose ball. Without a doubt, Swider lost the jump ball, but that’s something the NBA should evaluate for future seasons. 

Milwaukee began to pull away, as they led by as many as nine, but the Lakers were hanging around. However, with AD acquiring his fifth foul, Gabriel had the tall task of guarding Antetokounmpo, and he just didn’t stand a chance. The final score read Bucks 115, Lakers 106.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Bucks
Photo Credit: LaPresse

The shorthanded Lakers lost without LeBron James and their newcomers to drop their record to 25-31. They have now lost three straight games. Giannis Antetokounmpo proved to be too much for the undermanned Lakers, as he totaled 38 points (61% FGs), ten rebounds, and six assists.

Schroder finished with a team-high 25 points, along with an impressive 12 assists. Davis was plagued with foul trouble, though most were his fault. He still managed to total 23 points (9-22 FGs) and 16 rebounds. Both Reaves and Walker IV were excellent off the bench, as they combined for 33 points.

In addition to Antetokounmpo’s extravagant display, Holiday had 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Middleton, off the bench, totaled 22 points, five rebounds, and three assists. 

Overall it was a reasonable effort considering the circumstances. However, the Lakers don’t have room for error, and every loss at this point hurts, even in cases like this when they should lose to the hottest team in the league while being short-handed.

 

The Lakers face the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, Feb. 11th, at 5:30 p.m. PT at the Chase Center. The game will be available on ABC, Alaska Rural Communications Service, and ESPN 2.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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