Lakers overcome big lead to defeat Bucks in double overtime, 128-124

Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in both games this season without LeBron James as the Lakers look like contenders.

MILWAUKEE — That was a grueling marathon.

The Lakers survived a slow start, a near-20-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and two overtimes to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 128-124. And L.A. didn’t have LeBron James in that game.

While the Lakers looked like an offensive machine on Sunday against Indiana, they looked like 6th graders on recess to start the game. The Lakers only had four points for nearly 7 minutes. And they only made two of their first 17 field goal attempts. Milwaukee wasn’t exactly lighting it up but they still went up, 29-10 after back-to-back threes by Bobby Portis and Damian Lillard. Anthony Davis destroyed the rim on his putback jam to beat the first quarter buzzer but they were still doubled up by Milwaukee, 32-16, as they entered the second.

The good guys from L.A. managed to cut the deficit to 6 before questionable shot selection put them back on ice. The Bucks took advantage and topped it off with a long three from Dame. The lead rose to 58-42 by the half.

The third quarter got off to an excellent start by the Lakers. They were grabbing offensive boards, normally not a strength by L.A. And D’Angelo Russell woke up and made four threes in the third. Still, the Lakers went on a drought at the wrong time. The bench did the job for the Bucks again and Giannis Antetokounmpo beat the buzzer with a putback lay-up to bring the lead back up to 88-74.

The fourth kept it cold early for Los Angeles. They missed their first 7 shots in the fourth while turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes and change. But with the Bucks going cold themselves (even up 19), the Lakers took advantage this time. L.A. went on a 16-2 run as Davis, Russell, and Austin Reaves made some huge buckets. The deficit was cut to 5 before Malik Beasley made a lay-up and Khris Middleton made a three to halt the run.

But the Lakers pressed on. The Lakers scored 10 straight, including back-to-back threes by Davis and Reaves. Then we had a wild last minute as D’Angelo Russell (clearly fouled) lost the ball, Giannis (clearly fouled) missed an alley-oop from out of bounds, and Austin Reaves’ long three rimmed out at the buzzer. They went to overtime after some questionable officiating (they did not have a great day at the office).

The Lakers and Bucks shot the lights out. Davis and Spencer Dinwiddie made back-to-back threes. Malik Beasley made a three. Later on, Damian Lillard made a three to give the Bucks a 117-115 lead with under 15 seconds left. But D’Angelo Russell was able to draw a foul in the next possession. Russell made both foul shots to tie the game. Lillard tried to get a lay-up at the buzzer but Davis was able to swat it away and send the game to a second overtime.

Neither team could score in the first three minutes of the second OT. They were able to score four points each right after. After multiple misses by the Bucks, Austin Reaves made a go-ahead clutch three. The Lakers were able to get some stops (even when Malik Beasley’s late three made it interesting) and made some key foul shots. The Lakers sweep the season series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

It was an incredible W by the Lakers. Their defense got better and better as the game went on. Even after they seemed to blow chances in that game, they kept going. The Lakers didn’t shoot well but their defense carried them. Milwaukee did shoot over 50 percent in the first half but only made .342 in the second half (and two overtimes). This is the type of game that the Bucks can look back and kick themselves over.

But give the Lakers credit. They made all the plays that they needed and never gave up when everyone was pretty much calling for them to sit the starters out. No fake comebacks happened here; this was a full-fledged Laker comeback on the road.

Anthony Davis, who hurt his leg and was gimpy late in the game, finished with 34 points, 23 rebounds, and four blocks. Austin Reaves had a gutsy game, going for a triple-double at 29-14-10. D’Angelo Russell made some big plays down the stretch and finished with 29 points, 7 boards, and 12 assists. Rui Hachimura finished with 16 points and 14 assists. Spencer Dinwiddie (7 points, four assists) didn’t have the best shooting game but his only three was huge in the first overtime.

As for the Bucks, they were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo (as usual) with his own 20-20 and a triple-double (29-21-11). Dame Lillard had 27 points and 8 assists while ex-Laker Malik Beasley had a huge game with 21 points. Bobby Portis was big off the bench with 18 points and 13 boards.

They may be tired but it doesn’t stop for the Lakers. They will be in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday. But they might have LeBron James for that game and they’ll need his fresh body since most of their core guys are going to be a tad tired.

The Lakers are now 40-32. They are 8 games above .500 for the first time this season and they’re down to 10 games left in the regular season. Like I said, every game is huge and they might have scored the biggest win of this road trip.