Poor execution down the stretch doomed the Lakers in tonight’s frustrating 110-103 loss to the Bucks—Milwaukee’s third straight victory over L.A., ending its four game winning streak.
The Lakers controlled the game for the first three quarters, but fell a part in the latter half of the final quarter when they succumbed to the Bucks’ red-hot shooting and near perfect percentage from the free throw line in the game’s final minutes.
The Lakers fell in love with the three pointer down the stretch and aside from a Radmanovic make, were unsuccessful in the majority of their attempts. Moreover, L.A. essentially shot themselves in the foot by firing up too may long shots early in the shot clock when the deficit was only between four to six points with plenty of time to go. Both Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant in particular were ineffective down the stretch for the Lakers, relying on ill-fated jumpers instead of driving the ball into the paint.
On the bright side, Andrew Bynum continued his monster stretch of rebounding for the team, pulling down 13 rebounds to go along with 16 points. However, it should be noted that a whopping 10 of those rebounds came in the first half where Bynum seemingly had his way with the Bucks’ big men. The second half was a different story though as Charlie Villanueva and Andrew Boguts’ finesse games caused all kinds of problems for the Lakers.
While Michael Redd contributed his usual 25 plus points (26 tonight), it was the rest of the Bucks who proved pivotal in the fourth quarter. Specifically, guard Mo Williams (18 points) sparked the team in the final minutes, squashing the Lakers comeback attempt. Yi Jianlian also contributed to the Buck’s victory with 12 points and six rebounds.
If the Lakers hope to compete with the Boston Celtics this Friday, they must shore up their holes on the defensive end, as they were completely inept at stopping the Bucks when it mattered most tonight. L.A. will also need Odom to step it up after another sub par night, especially against a Celtics team that features three bona fide All-Stars.