After basking in the glow of their historic win over the Warriors on Saturday, the Milwaukee Bucks are trading the bitter Wisconsin cold for some West Coast sun with a four-game road trip that starts Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Following tonight's late central time tip, the Bucks face the Clippers tomorrow evening, one week after falling 109-95 to Doc Rivers' club in Milwaukee. The Bucks will then have a rematch against the Golden State Warriors on Friday right before Brandon Knight faces his former team in the Arizona desert on Sunday.
In case you've been living under a rock, the Bucks snapped the Golden State Warriors' 28-game winning streak and 24-0 start this past Saturday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, 108-95. It marked the sixth time in franchise history the Bucks snapped a major NBA winning streak — the longest being a 33-game streak the Lakers held in 1971-72 — and weirdly enough, all five of those teams the Bucks stopped went on to win the NBA Finals that year (we'll see if the Warriors can be the sixth team).
Led by Greg Monroe's 28 points and 11 rebounds and Giannis Antetokounmpo's near triple-double, the Bucks held off a fatigued Warriors team that was finishing a seven-game road trip and coming off a double-OT win in Boston the night before. You can definitely make the case that this was the Bucks' best win in many years, though the bigger question now is what they do next.
Putting the game against the Warriors in the rearview mirror, the Bucks have road woes to clean up with just a 2-10 record away from home, including nine in a row. Milwaukee hasn't beaten a team on the road since way back on November 6, though they've also had a tough slate of opponents including Toronto, San Antonio, Detroit, Cleveland and Charlotte.
The Bucks haven't gotten much help from an inexperienced and injured bench this season, but it doesn't help that they don't add much efficiency on the road, either. At home, the second unit for the Bucks chips in 30.8 points per game on 42 percent shooting, but on the road, that total drops down to 27.8 per game on 40 percent shooting, which ranks 28th in the league percentage wise. It doesn't help that Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez remain out due to ankle injuries, with neither player joining the team on the current trip.
The Lakers (3-21) are coming off a 126-97 loss to the Houston Rockets and are hoping to snap a six-game losing streak. Los Angeles was led by Kobe Bryant's 25 points (9-for-16 from the field, 4-for-9 from three) and seven rebounds, while James Harden scored 30 points for Houston. The Rockets hit 15 threes and shot 52 percent as a team in addition to attempting 28 shots at the foul line.
Bryant is still leading the Lakers in scoring with just 16.2 points per game while on his farewell tour, but he's shooting a horrid 32 percent from the field and 23 percent from the 3-point line -- unheard-of levels of inefficiency for a guy still eating up 30% of his team's possessions.
Since we're on the subject of road struggles, the Lakers return home to the Staples Center for the first time since Nov. 29, mercifully ending a 1-7 road trip. The Lakers started their trip in less-than-ideal fashion, becoming the first team to lose to the 76ers since last spring. They did rebound with a solid win against the Wizards, but proceeded to drop six straight to Atlanta, Detroit, Toronto, Minnesota, San Antonio and Houston, allowing their opponents to score 111.8 per game.
On the injury front, Jordan Clarkson practiced in full on Monday according to head coach Byron Scott. If he's a go tonight for the Lakers, expect No. 2 overall pick D'Angelo Russell to come off the bench with 2014 lottery pick Julius Randle.
On the Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll | Lakers Nation
|2015/16 NBA Season|
|December 11, 2015|
|Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA|
|Fox Sports Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|Lou Williams||PG||O.J. Mayo|
|Jordan Clarkson||SG||Khris Middleton|
|Kobe Bryant||SF||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
|Larry Nance Jr.||PF||Jabari Parker|
|Roy Hibbert||C||Greg Monroe|
|2014/15 Advanced Stats|
|96.6 (13th)||Pace||93.3 (18th)|
|100.0 (28th)||ORtg||101.5 (25th)|
|110.5 (29th)||DRtg||107.5 (26th)|