Bucks vs Lakers Preview
Late tip again (9pm CST) on TNT
The 37-17 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 25-30 Los Angeles Lakers Thursday Night in downtown LA at the Crypto Arena. The Lakers have been active at the trading deadline in the hopes they can turn their season around. LeBron James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. He accomplished that feat Wednesday against Oklahoma City. LA still ended up losing that game. Check out that shot here
Unless these two teams meet again in the NBA Championship, this will be the last time they play one another this season.
LA did manage to beat Milwaukee, in Milwaukee, 133-129 in early December. We said it then and we’ll say it now: The Lakers are not very good. (Don’t try to convince yourself they are.) They missed the playoffs last year and are only 13-13 at home. (If the playoffs started tomorrow, they’d be out 13/15) But they have Lebron James, Mr. Space Jam himself, and Anthony Davis who is one of the better examples of a player in professional sports who can dominate a game when he chooses too.
AD played very well in game one. 44/10/4. He really did choose to play hard. (Davis had zero turnovers in that game and three blocked shots.) The video of him pouting on the bench as LeBron broke the NBA scoring record are both sad and telling.
Former Milwaukee Buck Assistant Coach Darvin Ham is the coach of the Lakers.
Related: Bucks vs Lakers Game One Preview
Keys for the Bucks
Play like you’ve won 8 in a row
The Bucks are the better team. They need to play like it and play with internal confidence.
Milwaukee beat the Trail Blazers in a fun, somewhat defense-less NBA regular season game. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Milwaukee led the entire game, pushing their advantage to 26 in the second half. Against LA they should do the same thing.
This win streak started against Detroit when Milwaukee put up 150 points. That’s a lot.
The return of Khris Middleton has been the trade deadline pick-up this team has needed. We’ll see if something happens today. But if it doesn’t, Milwaukee has to feel great about the lack of desperation they are showing vs teams like the Nets, Suns, and Lakers.
Related: Trade Deadline News
Rebound the ball
The Bucks need to continue this all-world domination on rebounding the ball. They are still first overall in team rebounding (49.1 boards per game) and are holding on to that title over Memphis (48.1 per game). When the Bucks out rebound their opponent they win.
This strong number just speaks to this team’s identify- no muss, no fuss, just attack and defend the basket.
Related: Bucks linked to Piston player
The Opponent: Los Angeles Lakers
Lebron James is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, passing former Buck Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Congrats go out to King James. The Lakers still stink though.
What’s wrong here? Why didn’t the Westbrook/Davis/James trio work? Well, it did for a season. In 2019-2020 the Lakers won the championship in the infamous Walt Disney World “bubble”. After March 10,2020 in order to save their season, the NBA took the top 22 teams and tried to finish it all up. In that season Anthony Davis led the team in scoring (26.2 points a game) and Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope provided an excellent complement to Lebron and Davis.
So do those five guys Kuzma, Caruso etc really make that big a difference? Along with declining play from James and Davis and adding Russel Westbrook, yes it has. The Lakers simply lack depth. If AD and Lebron get tired-they will- then the Lakers will lose steam.
That really is why the Lakers will benefit from this Westbrook deal. They got back more than one serviceable guy. The Lakers have gotten back D’ Angelo Russell, Malik Beasely and Jarred Vanderbilt. They may play. If they do, it’ll have much more of a pick-up basketball feel than of a team running and offense.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Thanasis has a cool podcast. Check it out. https://thanalysis.podbean.com/
- Because of earlier flight issues impacting a Piston/Wizards game, the Bucks will now play Washington on March 5th instead of March 6th.
- No expansion team in pro sports history earned a championship quicker than the Bucks, who captured the 1971 NBA title in just their third season of existence.
Follow me on Twitter at @authorrudylb and check out my other writings at www.rudylb.com. Check out the cool I-Heart Radio Podcast Gyro Step Podcast here. Follow us at @WiSportsHeroics for all things Wisconsin sports. Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!