On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers hopped on a plane to Milwaukee, where they’ll start their seven-game road trip. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Lakers will mostly be confined to the arenas that their games will be played in and their hotels. As Wesley Matthews put it: “It’s a business trip.”
However, the fact that the Lakers won’t be enjoying the city like they usually do on these road trips hasn’t made it any easier to pack clothes, at least not for Matthews, who knows eyes will be on him wherever he goes because of the team he plays for.
“Man, this is the Los Angeles Lakers,” Matthews said after practice on Tuesday. “What are you talking about ‘there’s not attention’? It doesn’t matter where we are. So no, it doesn’t make any easier.”
Matthews, a native of Wisconsin, was the starting shooting guard for the Bucks last season. Going into the season, the Bucks were viewed as the favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference, and that feeling only grew throughout the regular season, where they won an NBA-high 56 games.
But the Bucks didn’t make it out of the east — they didn’t even make it past the second round despite the fact that they had a two-time MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo on their roster. There’s a chance that this is the year that the Lakers and Bucks meet in the NBA Finals, but Matthews said his teammates aren’t looking at Thursday’s game like a preview of any sort.
“Every day, every game, we attack with the same mindset,” Matthews said. “We know what the endgame is, we know where we want to get to and that we’ve got a ways to go. Is this a preview? I don’t know. Who knows? We haven’t even discussed that.
“What we need to do is lock in and get better on what we didn’t against Golden State and make sure that we’re ready for a tough Milwaukee team, and try to start the road trip off with a win.”
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. You can read our preview of the game here.