There is currently no safer bet in the NBA than the Los Angeles Lakers who are away from home.
Los Angeles improved this season with a 113-106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in potential Thursday’s NBA Finals preview at Fiserv Forum to 8-0. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the way for the winners, who recovered from their Monday loss to the Golden State Warriors and campaigned to 12 : 4 improved.
Milwaukee has now lost two in a row and fell to 9-6 despite a double double from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
LeBron James has 30 points pro in 6 of his last 7 games against Giannis Antetokounmpo @ ESPNStatsInfo scored.
It’s not often that James gets scrutinized for poor performance, but it did on Thursday.
That’s because he only got a 6- of-16 shooting with five turnovers in the aforementioned loss to the Wa rriors was. He went for competitive jumpers, didn’t attack the basket as he often did and wasn’t a big factor on the track.
Although Giannis beat him in the first quarter, LeBron wasted no time showing off any of that aggressiveness that were missing against the Warriors. He poured 17 points in the first half as he drove down the lane multiple times and either hit the edge or pitched his teammates.
AD has gotten a lot of buckets in his career … but nobody is stranger than this.
(📺: @SpectrumSN & TNT) https://t.co/J9lnRL7WfR
James caught fire from the depths early on when Milwaukee pulled away from him and hit three threes in the first half while Caldwell- Pope and Davis assisted with hot shooting and aftermath, respectively.
Caldwell-Pope’s runner towards the end of the first half was a harbinger of the future, and he drilled three triple drills in the third quarter while using the space created by James and Davis .
Anyone outside of Davis and James who can find their rhythm for the Lakers is a nightmare for opponents who are already thinly scattered trying to contain at least the pair of All-Stars. A hot track like Thursday’s Caldwell-Pope can rule the game and enable the Lakers to end their fourth quarter win.
As if stopping this trio wasn’t difficult enough, Montrezl made sure Harrell for a spark from the bench and Alex Caruso hit what was arguably the biggest shot of the game with a corner three that increased the lead to seven by less than two minutes.
Fittingly, LeBron added the exclamation point with a deep three, to round off a dominant performance.
Milwaukee was No. 1 in the offensive standings in the league, while Los Angeles was No. 1 in the defensive standings according to NBA.com. Whether the Lakers could cut off Antetokounmpo’s lanes and close the outside shooters around him, the result determined.
It was a mixed bag out of the gate when James’ theft on Antetokounmpo was one of the Milwaukee star’s seven sales in the first half was.
However, the bucks also scored 57 points in this first half, with Giannis and Jrue Holiday coming to the edge and Khris Middleton hitting several three points and relieving when the Lakers restricted his appearance from the outside.
To Antetokounmpos favor he cleared up some sales problems in the second half and kept the bucks next to Holiday and Middleton within striking distance. Still, the lack of offensive firepower from anywhere else was the main concern for the home team as they fell double-digit in the fourth quarter.
This was thanks to the Lakers’ excellent defense and their ability to at least keep Giannis at bay without to allow too much production from the supporting cast.
Brook Lopez tried to change that with a whirlwind in the fourth quarter, and Middleton’s race to catch up cut the lead to two points in the final three minutes. Another late take from Antetokounmpo and two Milwaukee field goals in the last three minutes ended the Bucks’ chance of a comeback.
The Lakers will face the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, while the Bucks will face the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday .
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