Ashley Landis/Associated PressThe Milwaukee Bucks broke a three-game losing streak Wednesday by defeating the host Los Angeles Lakers 112-97 at the St
Ashley Landis/Associated Press
The Milwaukee Bucks broke a three-game losing streak Wednesday by defeating the host Los Angeles Lakers 112-97 at the Staples Center.
Jrue Holiday led the Bucks with 28 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 25. Both excelled on the defensive end, with Antetokounmpo blocking three shots and Holiday adding four steals.
Their efforts helped Milwaukee outscore L.A. 65-45 over the second and third quarters. The Bucks also led by as many as 20 in the second half.
Andre Drummond made his debut for the Lakers and had four points and a rebound in 14 minutes. He exited in the third quarter with a right big toe contusion, but X-rays were negative, per Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. Drummond also spoke with reporters postgame:
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel also told reporters that Drummond will be re-evaluated Thursday.
Montrezl Harrell led L.A. with 19 points.
Milwaukee improved to 30-17, good for third in the Eastern Conference. L.A. is 30-18, putting it fourth in the West.
Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo: 25 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks
Bucks F Khris Middleton: 17 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds
Bucks G Jrue Holiday: 28 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals
Lakers C Montrezl Harrell: 19 points, 5 rebounds
Lakers PG Dennis Schroder: 17 points, 8 assists
Lakers F Kyle Kuzma: 16 points, 7 rebounds
Giannis Dominates on Both Ends in Double-Digit Win
The once-hot Bucks entered Los Angeles as losers of three straight after winning 13 of 14 contests prior to that stretch.
Granted, one of those games was a six-point loss to the New York Knicks that saw the Bucks rest their stars, but that defeat was bordered by an eight-point loss to the under-.500 Boston Celtics and an ugly 24-point letdown to the Los Angeles Clippers.
That streak is in the rearview mirror after an excellent performance Wednesday, albeit against the shorthanded Lakers.
Antetokounmpo propelled the Bucks with some excellent play on both ends.
On defense, he gave Drummond a rude welcome to purple and gold with this early block:
He also denied Alex Caruso at the rim in the fourth quarter (Caruso did evade Antetokounmpo for a dunk later on, though):
Eric Nehm of The Athletic noted the distance Antetokounmpo needed to travel to finish that block:
On the other end, Antetokounmpo got the best of Drummond in the paint before slamming it home:
Antetokounmpo also skied in the paint to finish another dunk following a Middleton lob:
He also did work from beyond the arc:
Antetokounmpo ultimately enjoyed an efficient night, shooting 8-of-13 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. He did commit nine turnovers, but his 10 boards and four assists helped make that fact irrelevant in a 15-point win.
Shorthanded Lakers Can’t Buy Luck After Drummond Injury
As Trudell noted midgame, the Lakers were playing their 20th straight contest without Davis and sixth consecutive matchup sans James. Losing those two obviously leave a lot of production to replace, and the Lakers have naturally struggled without the duo, going 2-5 since James was hurt midgame against the Atlanta Hawks.
Picking up Drummond as a free agent after the Cleveland Cavaliers bought him out was a solid pickup for a team looking for more production down low. At the very least, he could help in the scoring and rebounding departments in lieu of Davis not being on the floor.
Unfortunately, Drummond’s debut lasted only 14 minutes after he left in the third quarter with the toe injury. Trudell described the scene: “Drummond was getting the toe worked on/taped up just before the third quarter started, and Montrezl Harrell played the first few minutes before Drummond replaced him at the 9:29 mark. Harrell returned to replace Drummond soon after, at the 7:55 mark.”
He didn’t fare well before then with his four points coming on 2-of-6 shooting.
Still, the 27-year-old big man is a two-time All-Star averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game entering Wednesday, and there may have been some rust with the Cavs sitting him since mid-February in hopes of finding a trading partner before the March 25 deadline. That never happened, leading to the buyout.
At any rate, it was encouraging that Vogel said pregame to reporters that Drummond would play normal starter minutes, so his conditioning appears up to par.
But the Lakers can only hope this injury isn’t a long-term problem for Drummond as the team begins a seven-game road trip featuring five teams at or above .500.
Both teams will be on the road on Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
The Lakers will visit the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center, and the Portland Trail Blazers will host the Bucks at the Moda Center.