Last year, when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-103, it put an end to the ongoing narrative that they couldn’t beat elite teams. The Lakers will be walking into a similar situation on Thursday after losing to the Golden State Warriors on Monday.
Going into Monday’s game, the Warriors were just the sixth team the Lakers had played with a .500 record or better. In those games, they’ve gone 5-4, which is good, but not good enough to escape criticism from their harshest detractors.
For that reason, Thursday’s game has been widely viewed as a test for them, but Wesley Matthews doesn’t see it that way.
“I think every game is a test,” Matthews said after practice on Wednesday. “Every game presents a different challenge. You know, we only play who’s on our schedule. That’s all we can focus on, all we can worry about. I mean, we’ve had guys in and out of the lineup as well, and it’s not like we’re the same team that came back from last season, so this is all still new for us, too.
“No one’s really given us the benefit of the doubt and we’re not really giving anybody else the benefit of the doubt. The season is what it is and we’re excited for every game. This one’s no different. and we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
That doesn’t mean the Lakers aren’t going to get up for Thursday’s game, though. In fact, Anthony Davis has already said that losing on Monday has put a little “pressure” on the Lakers to win on Thursday.
While Frank Vogel doesn’t see it that way, he thinks his guys will be ready regardless.
“I don’t think it’s ever good to lose a game that you should win with a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter,” Vogel said on Wednesday. “That’s never good. That should give us nice and edgy.
“If you’re looking at a silver lining, that it’ll make us edgy going into that Milwaukee game, maybe there’s something there, but I think when you’re playing against the best teams in the league, you’re going to play edgy anyway. So I don’t know if that Golden State loss is going to impact that as much.”
The Lakers and Bucks will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PT on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on TNT nationally and Spectrum SportsNet locally.
Notes and updates
- Kostas Antetokounmpo (right knee patellar tendinitis) and Jared Dudley (sore right calf) are out for Thursday’s game. LeBron James (left ankle sprain) is questionable.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right ankle sprain) and Wes Matthews (sore right Achilles) are probable