The NBA had quite a day today. The Lakers made a ton of moves before the trade deadline ended on Thursday afternoon. Because of that, the Lakers only had 9 available players. We wish it was a playoff game in 2000 or we wish Mike D’Antoni was coaching because he knows how to handle a short rotation. Anyway, the Lakers couldn’t defeat a hot Milwaukee Bucks team, 115-106.
It was promising early. The Lakers were ahead for most of the first half. The Bucks couldn’t hit anything from three as they were a gross 5 for 28 (.179). Austin Reaves even put on a show, which included a cross on the two-time MVP winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
That crossover put the Lakers up by 11. At the end of the half, the Lakers had a surprise 58-50 advantage.
Then we saw a lot of Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. The Bucks closed the quarter with a 25-10 frenzy. Anthony Davis also got in foul trouble. I felt like the Lakers seemingly got timid from both ends after he got that fourth foul. Anyway, the Bucks won the quarter, 38-23 overall.
An 8-1 run by the Lakers did tie the game at 94 at the start of the fourth. And then Giannis took the Bucks home. A dunk punctuated a 10-1 blast by Milwaukee. And Giannis got a couple more lay-ups (one being a reverse where he sidestepped Davis and one where he went around Wenyen Gabriel with ease). The Bucks finished the job and won their 9th straight game.
The Lakers had a chance to steal the game but they seemingly went away from what got them the lead in the first place. Maybe Davis getting in foul trouble spooked them abit but they stopped rotating the ball around. Davis also needed to do more in the second half. 23 points and 16 boards are fantastic stats but those felt rudderless. Meanwhile, on the other side, Giannis put his stamp all over the game.
Maybe it’s the short rotation. And that rotation didn’t include LeBron James, who sat out Thursday night’s game. Well, it’ll be a lot different on Saturday when all the new players (and old friend D’Angelo Russell) join the Lakers for the last 26 games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 38-10-5 (a silver lining, I suppose, is that Giannis didn’t score his 4th straight 40-point game against the Lakers). Khris Middleton has been coming off the bench since he came back (coincidentally, they’ve gone on a winning streak since); he had 22 points. Jrue Holiday was huge in the third, scoring 14 of 18 points in that period.
Dennis Schröder led L.A. with 25 points and 12 assists. I already mentioned Davis getting 23 and 16. Austin Reaves scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half. Lonnie Walker IV played 31 minutes off the bench and scored 15.
I don’t know how many starting blocks or turning points the Lakers have had this season but yet here’s another one coming up this Saturday. The new-look Lakers play the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. And they’d better put it together fast if they want to get into the play-in (playoffs?) this season as they only have 26 games left.