This one somehow topped the first two.
The Lakers started things off with some nice three-point shooting, but their complete lack of anything resembling interior defense allowed the Bucks to feast inside. Milwaukee built up a small lead in the first quarter, and LA’s hands-on defense also put Bucks into the bonus early. This reduced the defensive pressure even further (the lackadaisical transition effort from LA didn’t hurt) and extended the lead further, ending the period at 38-24 in Milwaukee’s favor.
The dam burst wide open for the Bucks in the second quarter, hitting all five of their field goals in the first three minutes of the period, including a pair of threes and an incredibly-rare “two shots to make one point” on a Khris Middleton four-point play. Another three from Khris forced the Lakers to take a timeout down 54-33…with over eight minutes left until halftime. Both teams were actually scorching-hot in the period, the Bucks simply were better. On the TNT broadcast, they called out that LA was shooting 82% in the second…while the Bucks were shooting 92%. Then…the game got weird.
Giannis completely smothers Anthony Davis — a deflection, a block, and a steal in the post to spark a fastbreak. pic.twitter.com/gFt0ycioOh— Positive Residual (@presidual) February 9, 2022
In case you couldn’t tell, that was Russell Westbrook, former NBA MVP and point guard-sized destroyer of worlds, matched up against the hulking Greg Monroe, currently on a 10-day contract after finding himself out of the league a few years ago…and Moose stuffed him like a Thanksgiving turkey. If that’s not a perfect encapsulation of this first half, I don’t know what is. (Milwaukee led 78-56, and it wasn’t as close as that.)
The Lakers came out with some fire, as any self-respecting NBA squad would after getting smacked around in the first two quarters. They even cut the Bucks lead down to 10 at one point! Much of that has to do with the fact that Russell Westbrook didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter. But it didn’t matter.
Recap: Lakers get blown out and embarrassed by Bucks on national television https://t.co/2roWWlzjn7— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) February 9, 2022
That recap from Silver Screen And Roll was posted at the end of the third quarter.
Three First Half Highlights Where Giannis Got The Better Of Each Of The Lakers’ Big Three
And that's how you start a game. pic.twitter.com/glAhKRRrai— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 9, 2022
Bonus Bucks Bits
- Coach Bud’s got jokes.
To be clear, Bud was delivering a zinger https://t.co/mGxa6x9ETd— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 9, 2022
But also, book it, see y’all at the retirement ceremony in the 2030s. If the price of Giannis sticking around for a Tim Duncan-esque twenty years is Mike Budenholzer alongside him for the rest of the way, we make out like bandits.
- Speaking of jokes…that’s a disrespectful segue, but Russell Westbrook committed a pair of baffling turnovers in the first quarter; first it was stepping out of bounds in the corner, then it was somehow traveling after picking up his dribble on a baseline drive. He had also blown a layup and missed a bunny, giving TNT viewers the full Russ experience. It was rough.
- Brook Lopez update! Same as the last update!
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer on a zoom call from LA says the team continues to receive positive news about Brook Lopez’s recovery from back surgery.— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) February 9, 2022
Budenholzer says he remains hopeful Lopez will play in some regular season games
- Grayson Allen showed off a number of nifty moves inside the arc, converting a couple of difficult close-range shots while also connecting with teammates when the defense collapsed on him. An area of his development worth watching.
- Marques Johnson had the night off since the game was broadcast on TNT, but he was still kind enough to weigh in with his favorite basketball analytics site in the first half. And on his birthday!
- Giannis earned a rare technical foul in the third quarter after getting called for a block on a Russ layup attempt. In his defense, the foul call itself was fairly soft (not egregiously so), and the tech was even softer. Giannis protested the call by waving his arms above his head and…not much more than that. Perhaps he forgot how long his wingspan is and the ref felt endangered? Anything is possible…
- …because Anthony Davis missed the technical free throw, and then Westbrook missed the and-one free throw.
- Later in the third quarter…
"What are you doing?!" a Lakers fan after Westbrook threw a pass toward the middle of the court. Then another turnover. More boos.— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 9, 2022
- But you wouldn’t know it if you were browsing for the latest sports news and scores on a certain “worldwide leader’s” site…
The Bucks are up 25 on the Lakers and there’s nothing to be found about it on ESPN dot com pic.twitter.com/RjhukhcAPm— Van Fayaz (@lohausfan) February 9, 2022