Below is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest in Milwaukee as the Lakers looked to snap a two-game losing streak, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Luc Mbah a Moute, Drew Gooden and Andrew Bogut
5:08 Remember how Phoenix nailed an almost-league-record 22 threes last game? Well, Milwaukee looked intent upon matching that effort, making five of their first six to leave Luke Walton looking up at the scoreboard with a “Really?” expression on his face. Power forward Drew Gooden even got into the act, making two triples to match point guard Jennings.
0:00.1 It was sub Matt Barnes who made a key play to close the first, deftly snatching a late offensive rebound and turning to nail a buzzer-beating three to give the Lakers a 32-29 lead out of the first quarter. We’d expected a defensive game, the Bucks conceding 100 points only once all season and leading the league by allowing only 89 points per game due in part to a deliberate pace, but Milwaukee — actually pushing the pace — shot 63.2 percent and L.A. hit 52 percent with four offensive boards to keep the score up.
Bryant and Gasol posted 10 points apiece, while the Spaniard also grabbed four boards and keyed a late run with Bryant on the bench.
8:09 The Bucks had yet to slow down on offense, converting a silly 72 percent of their shots, yet L.A. still managed to hold a two-point lead after Gasol’s pull-up jumper.
4:28 Bryant and Fisher returned at around the six-minute mark, and L.A.’s defense promptly clamped down a bit, allowing a quick 5-0 Fisher run (a three and two free throws) at the other end to put the Lakers up 51-47.
0:04.0 It wasn’t that the Lakers weren’t playing good defense, per say, but Milwaukee was simply making quite a few difficult, long jumpers, including two straight from Gooden (10 points) and Jennings (19), whose layup allowed the Bucks a 59-57 lead. Jennings, for whom the Bucks played 2pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” each time he scored (he is an L.A. native, after all), hurt the Lakers throughout the half with his shooting (8-of-13) in particular.
7:03 Artest, Odom and Bryant scored respective hoops to put L.A. back on top after Jennings had opened a seven-point Deer lead early in the half. Milwaukee’s eighth three-pointer, this time from Salmons, made it 71-70 for the home team, but Odom answered with another jumper to reach 11 points.
3:15 So many times throughout his remarkable scoring career (26,000 and counting) has Bryant gone off on individual runs like the one we saw across a two-minute stretch in which he scored seven points, five coming at the foul line. Add Barnes’s second three, and L.A. had reeled off a 10-0 burst to take an 82-75 lead, its largest of the game.
0:21.9 The quarter ended just as well for L.A., who got Blake’s second three of the game to open a 90-81 lead heading into the final quarter. He, Barnes and Brown had all been effective, allowing Bryant, Fisher and Artest some extra rest on the eve of a back-to-back. Meanwhile, Bucks mascot Bango, one of the league’s best, attached a bunch of balloons to some Bucks fan instructed to wear a Lakers jersey’s Lakers hat, sending the lid up to the ceiling. Fun stuff.
8:39 With Bryant still resting on the bench, Blake and Luke Walton took turns setting up uncontested dunks first for Gasol and then Barnes, followed by a Brown reverse layup that kept the Lakers up somewhat comfortably, 99-88.
5:35 Before the game, Brown told me that he put 12 tickets aside for family members and friends who made the 90-odd mile drive up from Maywood, Illinois, just west of the United Center in Chicago. With a ridiculous fourth quarter stretch in which he nailed three triples for nine of 13 points (18 total), Brown kept the Lakers up 10 despite a four-point possession from Drew Gooden (flagrant 1 foul on Odom plus a tip-in).
0:55 Brown added still another three-pointer to essentially toss the dagger in Milwaukee, before a slick tip pass from Bryant to Gasol and then the second running fadeaway J of the quarter from Kobe made it 118-107 in the final minute. That’s how it would end, with L.A. improving to 9-2 on the season, and 3-1 on the road.
1 Free throw shot by the Bucks in the first half, as Milwaukee made an inordinate amount of jump shots to take a 59-57 lead into the break, shooting as high as 72 percent early in the second. The Bucks did manage to get to the line 26 times in the second half, however, though Andrew Bogut made only 2-of-10 attempts.
5 First quarter threes for the Bucks in six attempts, meaning that the Lakers had conceded 27 three-pointers in a five-quarter stretch dating back to Sunday’s loss to Phoenix.
16 Fourth quarter points for Shannon Brown, including an impressive 4-of-4 shooting from three-point land, a major boost off the bench for the visitors. Phil Jackson rightfully rewarded him by giving Brown the full 12 minutes of the fourth.
31 Game-high points for Kobe Bryant, who made all 11 of his field goals and had good elevation on his jumper throughout the contest.
118 Season-high points conceded by the Bucks, who had allowed an NBA-low of 89 points per game coming into the contest, and allowed over 100 points only once, in an OT loss to Boston (102-105).