The Lakers, now missing Jordan Hill, appeared to be well over-matched playing against a young, fun, and playoff bound Milwaukee Bucks team. But some strong plays from their offense first reserves led to a surprisingly competitive game.
Wayne Ellington converted 3 of his 4 first quarter three point attempts to get off to a hot start from behind the arc, and Robert Sacre hit two of his first 3 shots (including this dunk) to allow the Lakers to only have a 2 point deficit at the end of one. The Bucks led 26-24 behind fireballing hybrid forward Jared Dudley who knocked down his first four attempts from the field to score 9 points.
Ellington cooled down in the second quarter, but it was Carlos Boozer's turn to be unstoppable, scoring 14 points in the first half alone on 6-8 shooting with 4 boards. Nick Young chipped in 12 points of his own including 3-4 from three point range, and would have had a few more points had he not missed 3 consecutive free throws. The Lakers as a team shot 50% from the field, held the Bucks scoreless for 4 minutes at one point in the second for an 18-2 run overall, all of which contributed to their 8 point lead to end the half. The Lakers could have pressed their advantage, but instead ended the half by allowing the Bucks three consecutive dunks in transition and semi-transition as developing rookie Jordan Clarkson struggled to hold on to the ball (2 first half turnovers).
The Lakers we have come to know showed up again in the third quarter, as the Bucks ratcheted up the defensive pressure and got out in transition to double up on the purple and gold 28-14 in the period. Giannis Antetokounmpo in particular took advantage of starting small forward Ryan Kelly (who is not a small forward) to glide easily right to the cup time and time again (the only way to stop him was to do this). But the man they call "the Big Boss" did his best to not let LA fall on this night. Ed Davis took over the fourth quarter, cleaning the glass like Windex to pull down 20 rebounds for the game, a new career high. But after Jeremy Lin (11 points, 6 assists, 2-12 shooting) hit one clutch three, he then got a 24-second violation, which allowed the Bucks to tie the game on an OJ Mayo three pointer.
In overtime, Brandon Knight (24 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists) scored 10 points to further his case as an Eastern Conference All Star snub and that was enough to secure victory for Milwaukee in a thriller as Lin, Young, and Boozer succumbed to fatigue. Boozer had a nice game (28 points, 9 rebounds, 13-21 shooting), but ultimately ended the game as a competitive contest with one of his signature push off fouls on the offensive glass.
Antetokounmpo (25 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals and blocks each) played a solid game to lead the charge for Milwaukee alongside Khris Middleton's near triple double of 21 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Adding injury to insult, Wesley Johnson tweaked his ankle midway through the second quarter and while he did return in the second half, he looked noticeably limited, because apparently the Lakers did not have enough injuries already. Clarkson (2 points, 0-4 shooting with 3 turnovers) struggled alongside the aforementioned Lin on a rough night for Lakers point guards, as Milwaukee's defensive length noticeably disruptive. The Lakers roll on to Orlando for another early road contest on Friday.