The first half was an absolute slugfest, where neither team shot well and defensive effort was the order of the day, leading to a 48-48 tie at halftime. The second half opened with a pretty impressive Lakers run, largely fueled by the Los Angeles free throw advantage (a stat which assuredly stood out tonight). Milwaukee closed the gap over the course of the fourth quarter, but they simply never got over the hump.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a few moments of brilliance leading to his final stat line of 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Khris Middleton had 12 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists, all in all having a rough evening. Donte DiVincenzo was massive off the bench with 17 points.
For the Lakers, LeBron James was firmly himself with 37 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. There’s a reason he’s being pushed by the national media as an MVP candidate; he’s that good. Anthony Davis pitched in 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, shaking off a rough first half.
Stat That Stood Out
You can interpret it however you want, but the Lakers simply enjoyed a significant advantage over the Bucks in terms of free throw attempts, 36-22. Matt Moore got across the gist of the dynamic with this tweet:
Trying desperately to convey a point without accusing bias:— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 7, 2020
The Lakers have done a fantastic job creating contact tonight, to the tune of 23 fouls to the Bucks’ 15, and 25 free throws to the Bucks’ 8.
There is no insinuation to be made here; when the Lakers had possession and endured contact, they were often rewarded with trips to the line. When the Bucks had possession and dealt with contact, they were less often rewarded. That’s just a collection of facts of what happened in this game.
Also, hoo boy, it’s late. Stay up at your own risk, y’all, and don’t fall for the takes.