Danny Green
(Gary Dineen/Getty Images)

Lakers can’t complete comeback in gritty road performance

by Rodrigo Azurmendi
Staff Writer

Sometimes you catch a good team on a great night, you battle to the end and still fall short.

That pretty much sums up what happened Thursday night in Milwaukee, where the Bucks handed the Lakers their 5th loss of the season by a score of 111-104.

“We’re encouraged about who we’re going to be this year,” said head coach Frank Vogel. “We’ve had 8 of our first 9 games on the road in December and we’re 6-2 in those games. It’s a long trip, I feel like we’ve been on the road forever. We’ll be happy to go back and recharge the batteries and play some games in STAPLES Center.”

The purple and gold struggled from the jump in the very last stop of a 10-day, 5-game game road trip. LeBron James and Anthony Davis missed 10 of their first 11 combined shots, and the defense only held up through the end of the first quarter.

From that point on, Giannis Antetokounmpo went on a rampage, the home team’s shooters rained fire from downtown, and the Bucks opened up what would end up being an insurmountable lead.

These Lakers didn’t quit though. Anthony Davis scored 28 of his 36 points in the second half, and L.A. shaved a 21-point deficit down to single digits.

A Danny Green three-pointer, his 7th of the night, pulled the Lakers within 5 in the last minute, but that proved to be too little too late.

'Deadshot' finished with 21 points, one of four starters in double digits.

Milwaukee’s shooting proved to be just a little better, with Antetokounmpo draining a career-high 5 threes and George Hill and Wesley Matthews adding 3 apiece – good for a 16-12 advantage from beyond the arc.

The Lakers also suffered from a severe lack of bench scoring, where they lost that battle by a 30-point margin – with single buckets from Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard as their whole production.

The starters, however, delivered in another night of heavy minutes.

Besides Green’s 21 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 18, Davis’ 36 on 25 shots happened despite being hounded by Antetokounmpo during most of the evening.

AD was essentially a game-time decision after missing the Indiana game with an ankle issue, and ended up playing the whole second half.

“A heck of a gutsy performance,” Vogel said. “Playing on a sore ankle, 36 and 10 and 5, playing great defense on one of the best players in the world. He’s an unbelievably great player, and showed a lot of grit and toughness playing through a sore ankle as well as he did tonight.”

James, meanwhile, eventually got the offense going. The Lakers shot 55.6% in the second half, with 16 assists on 20 made buckets.

The King himself got himself another triple-double (21-12-11), and rose to 9th all time in the NBA in assists along the way – surpassing former Laker Gary Payton.

It simply wasn’t enough, though the squad still saw the glass half full.

“We outscored them 58-46 in the second half,” Vogel said. “We showed resiliency when we got down.”

The Lakers now return to Southern California, where they’re due to play 7 of their next 8 games.

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