LOS ANGELES – In a game where the Los Angeles Lakers had Pau Gasol return to the lineup and a favorable matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, who holds the league’s worst record, it was a career-high 37 points for Brandon Knight that led the Bucks to a 94-79 win over the Lakers.
Los Angeles got off to a rough start as it took nearly six minutes into first quarter to hit make their first basket on their 12th shot attempt of the game on a jumper by Gasol and trailed by as much as 17 points on 5-of-21 shooting from the field. As for the Bucks, Brandon Knight led the charge as he scored 9 of his 15 first half points in the opening quarter.
The slow start by the Lakers for Gasol was attributed a combination of the team taking bad shots and not knocking down open looks.
“I think we got good looks (and) some other ones it was too hard of shots at times,” Gasol said. “We just got to figure out to get easier looks for each other. We got to get a little flow in our offense and figure out what to run better.”
The awful start would set the trend for the second quarter as the Lakers would shoot 32 percent, but would cut the lead to single digits as they went into halftime trailing 42-33.
It would get worse for Los Angeles in the second half as Knight continued his shooting barrage as he scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field that would help push Milwaukee’s lead to as much 22 points on 61 percent shooting for the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Lakers would make a late run as they used a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to nine points, but just like the rest of the game the Bucks had a response for every basket made by Los Angeles as they would finish the game on a 8-2 run.
“We were struggling obviously when you start the game off trailing 19-4, it kind of comprises everything,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We just didn’t play well. We didn’t do anything well. We are down at the bottom. We (just) didn’t make any offensive plays.”
Los Angeles was lead in scoring by Gasol and Nick Young who both had 25 point and six rebounds apiece, but it would not be enough as it was a tough loss to swallow.
“It’s tough,” Gasol said. “We wanted to take advantage of this home stretch by capitalizing on some wins. I think tonight we brought the effort and the intensity we just weren’t sharp, (and) things just didn’t go our way. (The Bucks) were hitting shots they probably haven’t hit all season, but they hit them against us.”
Young is hoping that the new year can help his team get back to playing the up-tempo style of basketball they had success playing in early in the season.
“Just playing with energy and having fun,” Young said. “We get down when things aren’t going our way and we kind of let it affect our game. We got to have that swag, that up-tempo (pace), energy and have fun out there. We haven’t had fun in awhile.”
Lakers will look to end their six-game skid in their next game on Friday against the Utah Jazz, who handed them a 105-103 loss in Utah last Friday.
Farmar Injured Again
The injuries continue to pile up for the Lakers as they lost yet another guard as Jordan Farmar was hurt in Tuesday’s game as he tweaked his left hamstring and is expected to undergo an ultrasound on Wednesday.
“Before I came back I didn’t feel anything, but now I am starting to feel tugging each and every other day,” Farmar said, who went 0-for-5 shooting for 0 point with seven assists, and four rebounds in 20 minutes on the floor. “When I make a move I feel a strain. It’s back to feeling something day in and day out, and being nervous to pull through it and have it tear completely again.”
Farmar also noted that he was frustrated from not being able to complete elevate when he takes a shot and the fact that he cannot get past his defender.
“It’s something that I am going to have to deal as it is going to bug me regardless,” Farmar said. “Whenever I do play again and come back, I have to have a different mindset. It’s something that I am going to have to work through and trust it.”
With Farmar now out with an injury it leaves Kendall Marshall as they only healthy point guard and it will more than likely give him a start in Friday’s game against the Jazz with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Xavier Henry, Kobe Bryant and now Farmar are all out with injuries.
Photo Credit: Lakers.com