- The Bucks thoroughly outplayed the Lakers on Thursday.
- The final score made the game seem more competitive than it was.
- Still, there’s reason for Los Angeles to be optimistic.
The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t quite as competitive as the final score of their 111-104 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks indicates.
They were down 19 points at halftime, and trailed by double-digits for most of the fourth quarter before a last-gasp run gave them a fleeting glimmer of hope. But the Bucks extinguished it quickly, and the Lakers never came within a single possession of tying the game in crunch time.
It was a statement win for Milwaukee and Giannis Antetokounmpo, further evidence that if they’re not prohibitive championship favorites, the Bucks at least match up extremely well with their chief competition for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
But just because Los Angeles was thoroughly outplayed hardly means there are no silver linings to glean from its first consecutive loss of the season.
5. The End of the Road
The Lakers’ five-game Eastern Conference road trip began last Wednesday in Orlando. Long travel spells always take a physical and mental toll on teams, especially ones littered with veterans. Los Angeles played every other night for eight days, facing three of the league’s hottest teams.
Road weariness is real, and it won’t play a part should these teams meet in the NBA Finals.
4. Anthony Davis Was Hurting
On a night when James, frustrated by Milwaukee’s length, energy, and connectivity on defense, didn’t have it going as a scorer, Davis came up huge to give his team a puncher’s chance late.
A whopping 28 of his game-high 36 points came in the second half, when he shot 9-of-16 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line while refusing to come out of the game.
Making Davis’ play all the more impressive? He fought through a tender right ankle that kept him out of Tuesday’s loss to…