(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
Lakers Fall to NBA-Leading Bucks Despite KCP's 35 Points
The build-up was focused on a clash between two of the most physically dominant players in NBA history.
But instead of getting the matchup between LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, both All-Star captains sat out due to injury. Enter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who stepped into the spotlight with 35 points — second-most of his career.
Yet while KCP had the game’s hottest hand, the Lakers could not cash in a victory, falling in Milwaukee 115-101.
Caldwell-Pope shot 12-of-20 from the field and 8-of-14 on 3-pointers. He provided constant activity, burning plenty of calories as he found his spots to shoot.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his highest scoring game of the season, dropping 35 points with 8 three-pointers against the Bucks. pic.twitter.com/JqqrY9OOF5— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 20, 2019
He credited the hot night to a high arc on his shots and some extra rest in the middle of the day.
“I was just feeling good the whole day when I got up from my nap,” Caldwell-Pope said.
Fellow shooter Reggie Bullock also received some recognition for convincing KCP to not skip his pregame shooting session.
“Lights out,” Bullock said of his teammate’s performance. “That’s my boy, I’m proud of him.”
Caldwell-Pope was especially lethal in the second quarter, when he grilled the Bucks for 21 of his points. Still, Milwaukee held its ground and eventually took a 23-point lead with a minute left in the third.
But the Lakers had one more burst in them, as they reeled off 16 unanswered points from there, including KCP’s 35-foot step-back triple from the logo to beat the third quarter buzzer.
However, the Lakers ran out of gas from there. Milwaukee ended the night with an 11-1 run, while Caldwell-Pope left the game late after tweaking his ankle.
Rajon Rondo added 13 points and 10 assists for L.A., but also took 16 shot attempts and committed seven turnovers.
Khris Middleton stepped up for the Bucks with 30 points and 10 rebounds, while Brook Lopez burned his former team with 28 points and five 3-pointers.
The Lakers (31-40) ended their road trip with just one win in five games, while Milwaukee (53-18) added another victory to the league’s best record.
Kyle Kuzma had 17 points, but shot just 4-of-17 from the field. … Both teams combined to attempt 90 3-pointers compared to only 85 twos. … L.A. shot 19-of-23 on free throws. … Mike Muscala started in place of LeBron, but shot just 1-of-6 and missed all five 3-point attempts.
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