With a season-high five-game losing streak staring them in the face, the Milwaukee Bucks finally showed consistent energy from start to finish and knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers 113-103. Every Milwaukee starter scored at least 16 points and only Ersan Ilyasova (20 pts, 4 steals) made less than half of his shots. Larry Sanders led the Bucks with a career-high 21 points on 8-11 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. Monta Ellis starred in the fourth quarter again, finishing with 18 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds while shooting 8-16. Brandon Jennings, one night removed from his first ever scoreless game and a night fraught with drama, turned in a solid performance with an efficient 20 points and 7 assists against just 2 turnovers.
The Bucks weathered an early blitz under the basket as the Lakers went inside to their big men over and over again. Dwight Howard bullied his way in for dunks while Pau Gasol displayed his elite skills in the post against Ilyasova, who just can't seem to catch a break when it comes to defensive assignments. The Bucks scored just 18 points in the first quarter as they tried to slow down LA with a defensive lineup, but the Lakers were able to earn plenty of free throws to offset Milwaukee's dug-in defense. A much stronger second quarter cut the halftime deficit to 3 and the Bucks kept things rolling from there, winning the final two quarters handily to earn the 10-point victory.
The Lakers got 30 points from Kobe Bryant who sank 18 of his 20 free-throw attempts but shot just 6-17 from the field and committed 6 turnovers. The Bucks did a great job challenging him on every shot, and might have fared even better if not for a few questionable calls (tonight's officials likely didn't win any fans in Milwaukee). Dwight Howard had 15 points and 15 rebounds but missed 7 of his 10 attempts at the stripe, and the Lakers as a whole struggled with ball control, turning it over 18 times. The Bucks took advantage with 30 fast break points. It was a tough loss for the Lakers, who missed an opportunity to extend their lead over the Jazz and Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The win keeps Milwaukee 2 games behind the Celtics for the East's seventh seed.