LOS ANGELES — The Lakers played their fifth of six preseason games on Sunday and it was against the championship-minded Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks came away with the win at Crypto Dot Com Arena, 108-97.
LeBron James and Austin Reaves (as did Jarred Vanderbilt) sat this game out. The starters were D’Angelo Russell, Taurean Prince, Rui Hachimura, Anthony Davis, and Christian Wood. All I can really say is that these guys all seem ready to go. D’Angelo Russell continues to play well on both ends as he held his own against the firepower of Dame Time. Christian Wood did a decent job on Giannis but we all know Giannis can get himself out of broken plays and do something outrageous. Anthony Davis did a little bit of everything. We know Rui Hachimura will provide that scoring and Taurean Prince is just the ideal 3-and-D guy that knows what his role is.
Cam Reddish returned to play and it was nice to see him get a few buckets. Max Christie continues to fight for a regular spot on the rotation and I think he’ll be ready when called upon. I also hope we get to see more of Jaxson Hayes in the regular season. Especially when he does plays like this:
Jaxson Hayes meets Portis at the rim! 🛑 pic.twitter.com/V5aJgLJ5GU— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 15, 2023
Jaxson Hayes: BOUNCE. pic.twitter.com/KGhQob4lMZ— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 16, 2023
I also love Colin Castleton’s motor as he continues to get all the rebounds. Including Sunday’s game, Castleton averages 5.8 boards in under 11 minutes per contest in the preseason. Love the hustle.
Speaking of hustle, we also saw Scotty Pippen, Jr. dive into the mud. Not literally; that’s disgusting. But it seemed like he was diving on the floor every chance he got. He didn’t shoot very well but he did have four boards, six assists, and three steals. That has to speak for something.
Milwaukee started their regulars in the second half as the Lakers sat their guys out. Obviously, the talent gap is immense between those two groups so that enabled Milwaukee to pull away a bit. The Lakers did try to make a game out of it but Cameron Payne and Pat Connaughton made consecutive baskets with under two minutes left to put the game away.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and two steals. D’Angelo Russell put in 11 points while Max Christie and Cam Reddish each scored 10. As for the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16 points and eight rebounds while Damian Lillard had 14. It wasn’t a pretty game from the start; the Lakers shot under 38 percent while Milwaukee was under 42 percent.
The Lakers don’t play their last preseason game until Thursday when they face another team with a new look in the Phoenix Suns. Then after that, the regular season starts on the 24th. I know all the Lakers fans can’t wait but I’m doubly sure that the Lakers themselves can’t wait for the campaign to start.