Friday night was one of the most anticipated games of the NBA season. The Milwaukee Bucks traveled to Los Angeles to face the Lakers. The Bucks and Lakers have the two best records in the NBA. The game also featured the two top MVP candidates in Giannis and Lebron James. Many people believe that this is an NBA Finals preview. In the first half, it was all about defense as both teams struggled on the offensive end. They went into halftime tied at 48 as Lebron and Giannis had 12 points apiece. Giannis scored his 12 points in the first quarter while Lebron had only two. The Lakers adjusted defend Giannis in the second quarter. Los Angeles kept a body in front of Giannis at all times. The reigning league MVP didn’t score a basket in the 2nd quarter. Anthony Davis was in foul trouble in the first half.
In the second half, Los Angeles came out on fire and the offense came to light. After going down by five points, the Lakers went on a 18-0 run to blow the game open. LeBron James had 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to win his showdown with fellow All-Star Game captain Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-103 on Friday night in a clash of the NBA’s conference leaders. Anthony Davis scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers split their season series with the league-leading Bucks (53-10).
Los Angeles was carried to its 10th win in 11 games overall largely by a superb performance from James, who scored 14 points in the third quarter and then kept LA ahead down the stretch. James capped his night with a one-handed spinning dunk with 27 seconds left, sparking the last of many “M-V-P!” chants for him at Staples Center. Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost two of three games for the first time since October. Donte DiVincenzo scored 17 points for Milwaukee, which has still won seven of nine overall. Antetokounmpo finished strong with a 12-point fourth quarter after two fairly quiet periods, but Milwaukee just couldn’t catch up to the Lakers in the waning minutes of one of the NBA’s marquee regular-season matchups
Antetokounmpo is widely expected to win his second straight NBA Most Valuable Player award over James, but that didn’t stop Staples Center from serenading LeBron in the second half. James has transformed himself into the league’s assists leader this season to get the most out of Davis while still maintaining his own offensive excellence. The Lakers took the lead for good on James’ 3-pointer with 8:59 left in the third quarter. James scored his 34,000th career point during the game, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone as the only players to hit the mark. Antetokounmpo appeared to be headed for another monster game when he scored 10 points in the first four minutes at Staples Center, but he managed only two more in the first half when Los Angeles tightened up its defense.
My Final Thoughts
After watching this game, Los Angeles is clearly the better team. Milwaukee did beat the Lakers earlier in the season, but Los Angeles has more pieces. Giannis doesn’t have another star to get buckets like Lebron has. Lebron has another great player in Anthony Davis, who’s one of the best ballers in the league. Khris Middleton is an All-Star, but he’s not a top-10 or 20 player in the league. In the end, that’s why the Lakers beat Bucks.