Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Lakers, Bucks look to rebound from tough losses

Field Level Media
21 Jan 2021, 06:40 GMT+10

The Milwaukee Bucks and visiting Los Angeles Lakers will try to reignite winning streaks when they meet on Thursday night.

Both are coming off two-point losses on Monday night in which both teams missed 3-pointers at the buzzer.

The Lakers are set to open a seven-game road trip after falling 115-113 to the visiting Golden State Warriors, putting an end to their five-game winning streak.

LeBron James missed the last-second 3-pointer after the Lakers had blown a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead.

"I thought we came out with great energy, built up a big early lead, we just didn't sustain it," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. "Just one of those lessons we can learn from."

The Bucks brought a four-game winning streak into their meeting at the Brooklyn Nets before Khris Middleton missed a triple at the buzzer and Milwaukee lost 125-123.

Milwaukee now must switch from guarding Nets stars Kevin Durant and James Harden to trying to slow James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers, who led Los Angeles to the NBA title in October.

"I think whenever you play the best teams in the league, you always learn more about yourself and I think we're constantly in that mode," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We want to be tested, we want to test ourselves, we want to keep our high standards, our high expectations, and the best teams in the league do that to you."

Milwaukee's two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo registered 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the loss to Brooklyn.

Despite the loss, Antetokounmpo is happy with the direction of the team.

"We're playing good basketball," he said. "We're playing together, we're competing hard, we're learning the game, we're learning the game plan. We're playing for one another, but we've got to keep getting better."

Neither the Lakers nor the Bucks have lost two games in a row this season.

Blowing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead was especially rare for James, who had never lost in the previous 283 NBA games in which he was in that situation, according to Stats LLC.

Look for Los Angeles to score more in transition after combining for just four fast-break points against the Warriors.

James said after the loss that the Lakers settled for a lot of jump shots in the fourth quarter, something he said contributed to the lack of transition baskets.

"Hopefully, our guys will learn that lesson from this game," Vogel said. "It wasn't all complacency."

Playing seven straight games away from home would usually test any team, but Davis said this season is a lot different for road teams.

"There's no fans, so the home crowd isn't there to get the home team amped up," he said. "There's no energy in the arena for the home team like there usually is."

Antetokounmpo said the Bucks must maintain the same mindset they had against the Nets.

"We have another tough one on Thursday," he said. "We've got to lock in and go out and compete, but we're on a good path right now, so we've got to stay on course, stay on this path and keep getting better. Hopefully, at the end of June, be playing our best basketball."

--Field Level Media

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