The Los Angeles Lakers are back on track. After letting the Golden State Warriors steal a win at Staples Center on Monday, the Lakers locked in during the second half to seal a 113-106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Fiserv Forum on Thursday.
The Lakers didn’t look in sync coming out of the gate. In fact, for most of the game it felt like they were lucky to be leading, even if it was only by a few points. But it wasn’t luck that got them the win on Thursday; it was a pair of stellar performances from LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Coming off of a disappointing performance against the Warriors on Monday, James was completely in rhythm on Thursday, scoring 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the field and 6-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. He rounded out his box score with 8 assists, 5 rebounds, a block and a steal while hitting the two daggers at the end of the fourth quarter to put the Bucks away. His +13 plus-minus was the highest of the night.
James’ production was especially valuable when he was on the floor with Wesley Matthews, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell. Vogel has turned to that lineup a number of times this season and it wasn’t until tonight that they found relative success, and it was because James was on fire. That being said, it’s still not their best lineup, and the Lakers would be better off if those five didn’t see the court together often.
Caldwell-Pope was also hot on Thursday night, scoring a season-high 23 points while shooting a staggering 7-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. For the season, Caldwell-Pope is shooting 56.8% from behind the arc, which is only second in the NBA to Seth Curry. He’s on fire, and it doesn’t seem like he’s doing to cool down any time soon.
The Lakers tried to downplay this matchup going into it, but it’s clear both teams got up for this one, and as a result, it was enjoyable. The Lakers will try to start a new winning streak when they head south to take on the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.