The first quarter found the Bucks taking advantage of LA’s porous defense as Grayson Allen smoothly passed out of double-teams and an uncharacteristically wide-open Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied up points from the dunker spot to build a 38-24 lead that would balloon to 78-56 by halftime.
Coming out of the break, Bobby Portis made a statement from behind the arc on a day that the NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest participants were announced without him on the list. While BP eventually racked up 23 points, including 5-9 shooting from deep, the Bucks’ lead allowed for breathing room in a closer third quarter, as the Lakers played to a near-draw but couldn’t quite match Milwaukee, 31-29, before the reigning NBA champions essentially called it a night and treated the final set as garbage time.
In a game run through with dominance, perhaps Giannis’ treatment of LeBron James in the post signifies the Bucks’ attitude heading toward the All-Star break: confident, collected and ready to make another Finals run.
Stat That Stood Out
While the Bucks and Laker had nearly identical team stats, Milwaukee’s rhythm from three didn’t stop with just Portis. As a team, the Bucks shot 41.7% from range—more than 10 percentage points better than the Lakers, who looked like a team fully in panic mode with fewer than 48 hours left until the trade deadline and a roster that leaves much to be desired. Add in Milwaukee’s advantageous transition game (15 fastbreak points vs. 9 for LA) and the Lakers’ apparent lack of interest in running to contest, and the Bucks’ night could not have gotten much easier. (Of course, it never hurts to have 44 points from Giannis, either.)