Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Saturday evening road contest at Milwaukee, the Lakers looking to win for just the second time in their eighth road game, 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, Barnes, Gasol and Bynum
Bucks: B. Jennings, S. Livingston, C. Delfino, L. Richard Mbah a Moute, D. Gooden*
*The Bucks came into this one quite short-handed, with regular center Andrew Bogut out 8-12 weeks with a fractured ankle, and Stephen Jackson suspended after being ejected at Chicago last night.
12:00 It doesn’t take Bill Russell to figure out that L.A.’s major edge in this one was going to come inside, which isn’t that out of the ordinary, but is especially true with Bucks lone really big inside player Andrew Bogut out. If the Lakers don’t pound the ball inside repeatedly, expect Stu Lantz to pop out of his courtside seat on the KCAL broadcast. In the media room before things started, Lantz said L.A. should go inside so often that Bynum and Gasol get so exhausted by the fourth quarter that they’re begging not to get it.
6:15 L.A. was getting whatever look it wanted in the opening stanza, as Bynum and Gasol took nine of the team’s first 10 shots, but four missed layups – all wide open – helped the Bucks stay right there, down just 12-7 after a baseline fade from Bryant.
0:00 A strong start to the game produced lead of 21-15 and 23-17 after subs Andrew Goudelock (a three) and Josh McRoberts (a big follow dunk off Kobe’s miss) suddenly went by the wayside, as the Bucks reeled off a 10-0 run to close the first up 27-23. Milwaukee hit four of their last five shots in the quarter.
7:36 While Bryant was on the bench, L.A. got outscored by 12 points, and his free throws after a defensive three seconds call on Milwaukee still found the Lakers down 10 points. Gasol uncharacteristically struggled to hit his shot, making only 2-of-8, despite his length edge on Ersan Ilyasova.
4:30 The Bucks were absolutely flying around on D, which we saw result in 10 Lakers turnovers and easy Milwaukee baskets on the other end. The Bucks were also simply playing with greater intensity, L.A. trying to slow things down and execute, but since they weren’t, Milwaukee led 45-34 even after Fisher’s first hoop, a corner J.
1:39 A running, left-handed dunk from Gasol brought L.A. up to only 14 paint points despite how early it was getting it down low in the first few minutes of the first. Milwaukee’s scrambling D cut down those passing angles, subsequently, and meanwhile, the Bucks got 23 points off its bench. It’d be 51-43 Bucks at the break, thanks to a 7-2 LAL run to close the half.
8:00 Back in the first half, Bryant tied a franchise record held by Jerry West for most free throws made in franchise history, at 7,160. A jumper also had him eight field goals within the franchise mark held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (9,935). At 5-for-9, Bryant had 13 points with six assists and five boards, keeping his team within the 8-point halftime deficit early in the third.
3:15 McRoberts made a good entry pass to Bynum, who scored over Gooden to get to 13 points, but L.A. then conceded a paint bucket to Ilyasova on the other end. Bryant, however, than hit consecutive jumpers, including a triple, plus a Goudelock floater to cut Milwaukee’s lead to four.
0:00 With Bryant and Goudelock taking turns scoring, L.A. cut that lead down to just three at 76-73, but the Bucks again answered, hitting the final two shots of the quarter to create a seven-point lead heading into the fourth. Five Bucks were in double figures in a very balanced effort, and this without two of the three players on their roster (Bogut and Jackson) who actually averaged double figures coming into the game.
6:34 You’d have been as surprised as Stu Lantz to see that the Bucks would lead L.A. 42-32 in paint points despite the huge disparity in size, but as Bynum failed to take advantage of his offensive board, L.A. needed a tough running hook shot from Kobe to get within six points at 85-79.
1:37 More of the same, as L.A. continued to struggle to get the ball inside, and the Bucks drained jumpers, improving to 50.6 percent from the field after back-to-back deep jumpers from Mike Dunleavy. Five Bucks players were in double figures, including 15 each off the bench from Dunleavy and Ilyasova.
The final score: Bucks 98, Lakers 87. L.A. falls to 11-9 on the season, and just 1-7 on the road, with the second of a cold winter weather back-to-back at Minnesota coming up on Sunday. We’ll see you then.