The (3-21) Los Angeles Lakers are back in the city of angels to host the (10-15) Milwaukee Bucks. Tonight’s game, the Bucks first of a Western Conference road trip, hoping to utilize the energy and effort displayed in their riveting 108-95 upset win over the Golden State Warriors as a catalyst for success. As a matter of fact, both the Warriors and Bucks, were playing on the second night of back-to-back games, to say nothing of the weary Warriors also playing the last game of a seven-game road trip. The Lakers lead the all-time series (79-49) against the Bucks, 50-13 at the Staples Center.
Los Angeles lost the two-game season series to Milwaukee (0-2) in the 2013-14 season and split the season series (1-1) in 2014-15. In their last 10 games against Milwaukee, the Lakers are 4-6 against the Bucks. On 12/21/10 at the Staples Center, the Lakers had their six-game win streak against the Bucks snapped, scoring a series-low 79 points (since tied on 12/31/13 – surpassing the old record of 81 points that stood since 11/26/69 at Milwaukee), Kobe Bryant ejected from the game, after receiving his second technical foul with 2:07 remaining in the game. In the same fashion, on 1/1/10 the Lakers held Milwaukee to a series-low 77 points, surpassing the old mark of 82 established on 2/25/73.
In 30 games against the Bucks, including 27 starts, Bryant has averaged 24.6 points per game in addition to posting the highest career free throw percentage against any team (91.7%, 211-230 Free Throws). Milwaukee ranks 29th in the NBA in scoring (95.5 points per game); 30th in rebounds (40.3 rebounds per game), sixth in assists (23.2 assists per game) and 18th in the league, defensively allowing 101.2 points per game. The Bucks leading scorer, center Greg Monroe (16.2 points per game), has damaged teams on the interior, leading Milwaukee in field goal percentage posting a 52.5-percent mark.
Correspondingly, on 12/14, Monroe was 11 of 14 on contested field goal attempts (78.6%) against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. In light of the fact that a contested shot happens when a shooter has a defender within three and a half feet from him, this presents a huge problem for the purple and gold. Equally important, 6-foot 11-inch matchup nightmare, small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo became the youngest player with a triple-double (11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) in Bucks franchise history. The numbers you need to know; 45, 20.3, 14.
In 2015 the Los Angeles Lakers are allowing 45 points in the paint, 20.3 fastbreak points and have allowed the last 14 opponents to score 100 or more points. This game presents an interesting battle of former Georgetown centers in the matchup of Bucks center Greg Monroe versus Lakers center Roy Hibbert. Lakers Head Coach has bought into the less actually equals more approach in regards to Kobe Bryant’s playing time in addition to the young players playing extended minutes and closing out games. D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle will continue to come off the bench, unless Jordan Clarkson’s ankle keeps him on the bench.
Julius Randle has struggled coming off the bench, hopefully Randle, who possesses the desired efficacy, will realize that he is being scouted some opponents are not allowing him to play a physical brand of bully-ball in the paint. Randle must alter his approach, work on counter moves for when opponents take away his first move and set up more in the painted area, being left-handed attack more going to his right and not settle for jump shots. The Bucks size, length and athleticism will present a problem for the Lakers. Offensively, the Lakers need a solid performance moving, passing and cutting to make the Bucks defense work as well as find the open shot. Defensively, the purple and gold must get back in transition, stop the ball, do a solid job against the pick-and-roll play, encircle Greg Monroe and make him play in a crowd, quickly rotate out to open shooters, limit the Bucks to one shot per possession, box their men out and rebound.
Lakers: D. Russell, L. Williams, K. Bryant, L. Nance, R. Hibbert
Bucks: O. Mayo, K. Middleton, G. Antetokounmpo, J. Parker, G. Monroe
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• Milwaukee: Fox Sports Wisconsin (Jim Paschke & Marcus Johnson)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Milwaukee : WTMJ Radio 620 (Ted Davis & Dennis Krause)
• Jordan Clarkson (Sprained Right Ankle) Doubtful
• Jerryd Bayless (Sprained Ankle) Out
• Grevivis Vasquez (Sprained Ankle) Out