Wed, Mar 31, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Milwaukee Bucks (29-17, 1st in the Central) visit the Los Angeles Lakers (30-17, 3rd in the Pacific) on Wednesday, March 31, at 10 PM ET.
The Lakers won the first of two meetings with the Bucks 113-106 and look to take the series tonight at the Staples Center in what could be a preview of the NBA Finals if the Lakers can get LeBron James healthy and back in the lineup soon.
The Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 but have won two in a row. The Bucks are 7-3 in their last 10 but have lost three straight. Milwaukee sits in first place in the Central, 7.5 games ahead of the Indiana Pacers. Los Angeles sits in third in the Pacific, just 2.5 games out of first behind the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Bucks come into tonight after suffering a 129-105 loss to the Clippers. The Clippers connected on 19 3-pointers in the blowout victory.
"They shot it at a really high clip. Just didn't think we guarded very well, particularly late. Just too much penetration," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They did a good job of getting inside of us. They were creating a lot of good looks. We got to be better defensively."
Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 32 points to lead the Bucks attack in the loss. Jrue Holiday scored 24 points. Heading into the game, the Bucks were tied for first in the league with 119.3 points per game.
The Lakers were able to hold off the Orlando Magic, 96-93, to win their most recent game. LeBron James and Anthony Davis again were inactive for Los Angeles.
Dennis Schröder scored 24 points, Kyle Kuzma added 21, and Montrezl Harrell had 18 to pace the Lakers.
"It wasn't pretty, but we played well. This is a tough shooting night, but our defense carried us through," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
The Lakers are now 2-3 without both James and Davis.
"We're not playing for holding on. We're paid to do the same job, which is win games," Harrell said. "We're going to try to continue to keep rolling until they get back."
The Lakers had to come from behind to win the game against the Magic, who are the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference. Los Angeles trailed 82-77 with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter.
Kuzma also pulled down 11 rebounds to record his 12th double-double of the season.
"We probably got the most open looks that we've had all season, especially on 3-pointers," Kuzma said.
The following players have landed on the injury list:
Even though Milwaukee has lost three in a row, they are -8.5-point favorites with a -400 money line against the Lakers on the road tonight. It's hard to look at the spread and bet against Milwaukee. The Bucks are bound to get back on track and a game against the Lakers who don't have James, Dudley, or Davis seems to be just what the doctor ordered.