For a few moments Thursday night the Lakers had hope. LeBron James swished a three-pointer as the shot clock expired and the Lakers seemed to have stopped a push by the Milwaukee Bucks to increase their lead. But like each similar moment, it passed. Before long, Anthony Davis missed a wide open three, then reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo made one.
And then he winked.
In a showdown between the best team in the Eastern Conference and the best team in the Western Conference, the Lakers didn’t have enough. They lost to the Bucks111-104, making this the first time all season that they have lost back-to-back games.
The loss dropped them to 24-5, and they finished this trip 3-2. Davis, who missed the Lakers’ previous game because of a sprained right ankle, scored 36 points with 10 rebounds and five assists. James had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh triple-double this season. He played most of the fourth quarter with five fouls.
Advertisement Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Bucks (25-4).
The Lakers looked lethargic and disorganized as the game started. They struggled to run plays, got in each other’s way and committed careless turnovers. James and Davis went one-for-11 shooting combined in the first quarter, with Davis making the only shot. It all added up to them tying their lowest scoring first quarter of the season as they trailed 23-17.
Things did not improve in the second quarter. Milwaukee outscored the Lakers 20-7 before coach Frank Vogel took a timeout. There were moments where the Lakers seemed to come back to life, but they didn’t last. Vogel was hit with a technical for arguing a call that may have been his attempt to liven up the Lakers.
At halftime, they trailed 65-46, having been down by as many as 21 points.
Advertisement Things turned for the Lakers in the third quarter. Davis finally got going. He scored only eight points in the first half, but had 15 in the third quarter. The Lakers took advantage of a stretch when Antetokounmpo sat.
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The Lakers trailed by eight heading into the fourth quarter. The Bucks pushed the margin to 15 before the Lakers made a late run.
James saw Davis just a step ahead of Antetokounmpo. Davis was able to haul in a pass and dunked on the Bucks star to cut the Lakers’ deficit to seven with 2:03 left in the game. That was as close as the Lakers would get in the second half.
Milwaukee clinched the win when James drove to the basket and turned the ball over with less than a minute remaining.
LINK ORIGINAL: Latimes