The Lakers begin a tour of the East with a somewhat bittersweet flavor that we will see what it transforms into in the next few days, which can move if the sour part predominates more than the sweet as the games go. They came embarrassment against the Wolves and a patch against the Spurs at home, and from losing the last one, also at the already stale Staples Center, against the Bulls without LeBron James, who continues to be injured, the Bucks were not the best option to start.
Well indeed. They fought the game well, reaching the last period with options but giving too much to be later not able to counteract. The locals took control at the end and closed at 109-102 one night in which Khris Middleton, who was returning from complying with COVID protocols after eight games away, equaled Ray Allen as the top three-point man in the franchise.
The protagonist, without a doubt, was Giannis Antetokounmpo, who signed a performance that raised him to the top a few months ago when Milwaukee was proclaimed champion. He missed a shot of three and four shots of two and held onto the personnel line, where he missed only three. To do it with 47 points in the pocket is more than good.
The Lakers returned to have their substitutes one more night, below the level forcing the starters too much. In this team’s case, it is a major problem since, outside of the main three, they base the strength they preach as a favorite on the breadth of their squad and their seniority.
Monk, who has not adapted badly, was infected by Ellington’s null success to trace even his 1/7 in triples, Rondo was right in front of the basket but did not change rhythms or trends, and the others were nothing more absolute. The absence of Reaves, Ariza, Nunn, or whoever it is should not be an impediment for any of those who come off the bench to take a step forward, and this is the NBA. Technicians must work on this. It also doesn’t help that the leading scorer is a player just out of injury, Talen Horton-Tucker. These are some adjustments to keep in mind so that they do not have such a bad time on this tour away from home.
Westbrook’s containment failed again on the shots, but in this case, the problems were different. Under his leadership, the game was fought, and it was not easy. They came very close to the edge of the break when the Bucks hit the first strong pull playing for Holiday and with plays well finished by Portis, two of the keys to the team’s title months ago.
There, a gap of eleven points was opened. But, far from being intimidated by the scoreboard and by an Antetokounmpo that was full of power scoring anywhere, the Angelenos cut the distance. It took about ten minutes, but it was Ellington’s ironic lone 3-pointer and Davis’ mid-range shot that put the purples here ahead. And that Middleton was putting his facet of direction ahead and that Anteto was taking Davis out of position well. They were there. But the Lakers forgot the basics on defense when things got tighter, leaving Giannis to do and undo Budenholzer’s attacks as he pleased.
Anteto forced double defenses, logical when taking the points he had, but he also absorbed when he was not the finisher so that others like Connaughton or the aforementioned Middleton were the ones who put the basket. The last section of the last quarter was the moment in which the Greek was sentenced with his actions, and Los Angeles had to give up. In these circumstances, the ’34’ is decisive.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.