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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview: Bright Lights, Fewer Stars

The Lakers are working through a period without their two studs

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks may not be facing the Los Angeles Lakers “A-squad” in this one, but they could use a chance to get right after a relatively slow teardown by the Clippers in the Staples Center on Monday. Milwaukee gets its second chance at the Lakers after dropping the January 21 game, 106-113 at Fiserv Forum.

Where We’re At

The Bucks, following their extended winning streak, found themselves losing to a hot-shooting Celtics team last Friday night, then surrendered a 55% 3-point shooting night to the Clips on Monday. There was a Knicks loss sandwiched in between. Sure, 3-point shooting is incredibly variable (BTW - the Clips shot just 32.4%, 12-37 vs. Orlando on Tuesday), but Monday’s game felt frustrating in so many more tangible ways. Giannis missed bunnies, the Clips abused the drop coverage with a barrage of midrangers/floaters and Milwaukee’s zone, while cool to see, was carved to shreds. I was surprised Bud stuck with it through several straight 3-pointers, but the key point is that at least he tried something different rather than keep letting Reggie Jackson getting to his spots at ease.

They are looking for a chance to recapture the rhythm they had prior to Giannis’s injury, and hopefully this Lakers squad is perfect for that.

Los Angeles is in a rut, understandably, without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. After losing LeBron on March 20th, and losing to the Hawks that day, they dropped three straight. Their skeleton crew did manage to capture recent games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and beat the Magic 96-93 on Sunday. They’ve had two days off to rest since then, and apparently reinforcements are on the way in the form of Andre Drummond. He’s also starting, per Frank Vogel:

“He’s going to start tomorrow night,” Vogel said. “We’ll keep an eye on his minutes — I don’t know what that’s going to look like — but he does appear to be in very good shape. It’s clear that he worked really hard during this time off, but there is no true simulation like playing in a game.”

That moves Marc Gasol to the bench, of course. Who knows what Drummond has, but he at least provides some immediate depth for a team that needs it. His rebounding prowess could also be an issue, especially in light of Milwaukee’s abhorrent defensive rebounding showing against the Clips.

Besides James and Davis, Jared Dudley is also out for LA. Rodions Kurucs, Bobby Portis and P.J. Tucker are still out for the Bucks.

Player to Watch

It’s gotta be Drummond, who will play in his first game for the Lakers and get his first start. Expect him to batter balls against the board, but I doubt we’ll see much pick-and-roll chemistry with Schroder at all. Drummond has always been a pain, but this should be an opportunity for Brook Lopez to regain a bit of the momentum he had directly coming out of the All-Star Break.


Game 48: Against the Blazers, the Bucks will...

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