The least of the East: Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks Preview

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers head out to the Midwest for a back-to-back set, pitting them first against the worst team in the NBA

Showtime: 5:00pm PT

Plot: Two game winning streak? A third game against the worst team in the NBA? Could the Los Angeles Lakers be... rolling?

For many fans out there, this is their worst nightmare.

The Lake Show flies out to the Midwest for a brief, back-to-back game road trip which includes tomorrow night's tilt against the Minnesota Timberwolves and of course, tonight's contest against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are having an absolutely horrendous season, rife with injury, in-fighting and generally disappointing performances from many of their players. They have the worst record in the NBA at 13-58, which says even more considering that's with them in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee can't defend, they can't score, they can't stay healthy... it's not a stretch of the imagination to see why they're so bad night to night. However, back in December, it was more than enough to beat the Lakers.

In what was one of LA's worst losses this season, the New Year's Eve game in STAPLES Center featured a career game from guard Brandon Knight. The former Kentucky Wildcat torched the Show on the last day of 2013, lighting them up for 37 points en route to a 94-79 game that wasn't close for most of the contest. The Lakers only shot 35% that night and allowed one of the worst offenses in the NBA to look halfway decent. Even in a season where the team isn't likely to win even 30 games, it was an extremely disappointing effort from Los Angeles.

There's no doubt that coach Mike D'Antoni expects a better effort from his guys tonight, coming off of a win Sunday against the Orlando Magic and a 30-point destruction of the New York Knicks on Tuesday. Strange as it seems, the Lakers look like a better offensive unit without Pau Gasol, running up and down the floor and shooting the absolute lights out. The Spaniard will miss tonight and tomorrow's game as he recovers with a frightening bout with vertigo, leaving Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre to take his minutes. The Lakers didn't play crisp defense against either Orlando or New York, but were able to shoot well enough to make up for their defensive lapses. Oddly enough, we haven't been able to say that type of statement enough this season.

For many fans, the team playing well and against some of the worst teams in the league is the worst case scenario. As the Lakers gear up for the draft lottery, every win means a lower and lower pick. The team is still competing hard every night which is great from a basketball standpoint.

But in terms of their upcoming draft selection? ESPECIALLY when other teams are mailing it in... hard? Not so much. Let's see how the team responds to their recent success on the road tonight in Milwaukee.

--MAMBINO

--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino

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