It’s always tougher on the second night of a back-to-back, but the Bucks came into this game with a decent chance at moving to 2-1 on the road trip following last night’s surprising win against Golden State. With both of the Lakers’ main point guards (Isaiah Thomas and Lonzo Ball) out with injury, it fell to the still-developing Brandon Ingram to take on the main playmaking role for the Lakers, meaning that Milwaukee had (theoretically) a significant advantage on defense. However, John Henson was a late scratch, meaning that only Tyler Zeller and Marshall Plumlee were available to take on noted Bucks-killer Brook Lopez inside. The Bucks had a sizable lead in the second half, but gave it all away in the fourth quarter and had to go to overtime to eke out a victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo maintained his aggression from last night, and put up 27 points (including 11/15 from the line), 15 rebounds, and 4 assists. Giannis also was on the better end of a classic “ankle breaker” highlight, where the opposing player merely hit a slippery spot on the floor, unaffected by any fancy dribbles.
The star of the (Bled)show was Eric Bledsoe, who came up huge with 39 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Khris Middleton more than helped out Milwaukee’s effort with 28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals of his own. Jabari Parker and Tony Snell scored 8 each, but no other Buck made any notable contributions in this one.
For the Lakers, Brook Lopez found little resistance on his way to 20 points on 14 shots. Julius Randle bullied the Bucks for 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Kyle Kuzma continued his successful rookie campaign with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Brandon Ingram faded in and out in this game, but came on strong late and ended up with 12 points and 6 assists (with 5 turnovers). Finally, fueling the Lakers’ comeback was Ivica Zubac (yes, really), who had 16 points and 5 boards, almost entirely in the second half.
Stat That Stood Out
41-31. Once again, the Bucks’ lack of rebounding prowess made what could have been an easy contest an absolute nail biter. Center depth aside, the Lakers’ big men weren’t even the beneficiaries of the absence of Henson and Maker: shooting guard Josh Hart had team-leading 13 rebounds, while Randle and Kuzma registered in double digits on the glass as well.