Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bucks

Darius Soriano —  February 10, 2017

With the news breaking Thursday evening that Magic Johnson is maneuvering to be more than just an “advisor” to Jeanie Buss, instead wanting to “call the shots” for the Lakers, I almost forgot the Lakers had a game to play today. The team is in Milwaukee, playing the final game of their five game road trip in which they are currently 1-3. The loss to the Pistons on Wednesday was a stinker, but the team has otherwise competed well even if the wins have not followed.

Against the Bucks, then, it would be nice of the team could simply wash away that last game and rekindle the energy and effort they’d had in the previous few contests. Especially since, recently, the Bucks have been going through their own issues.

Losers of 11 of their previous 13 games and, sadly, just getting the news that 3rd year forward Jabari Parker tore his ACL for the 2nd time in three seasons, Milwaukee is reeling. And even though they have gotten guard Khris Middleton back from a torn hamstring which has kept him out the entire year, he is on a minutes restriction and cannot be expected to have his rhythm or game conditioning up to his normal standards yet.

Of course, getting a win on the road is always hard and it’s made even harder when the other team has the best player on the floor. That is the case tonight with the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The “Greek Freak” has emerged as not only the Bucks’ top talent, but one of the best players in the game, a multi-skill threat who can do damage in all facets of the game. He’ll deservedly start in the All-Star game later this month and is right with Anthony Davis as the best player under the age of 25 the NBA has to offer.

Slowing him down will be the Lakers’ top priority and a huge test for Brandon Ingram. Luke Walton said Thursday that Antetokounmpo is a model for Ingram and, if you look at the numbers, what Giannis’ profile was when he entered the league, and how he’s added bulk and refined his game in only 4 years you can see why Walton would say such a thing. Still, though, that comp, like the Durant ones when Ingram was at Duke, are probably unfair. Yes, I think players should try to become the best versions of themselves and try to find similar players to aspire to be like. But those types of expectations can put undue pressure on a player as young as Ingram.

Beyond that matchup, I am interested in seeing whether D’Angelo Russell can bounce back from his poor showing in Detroit. Russell was unusually passive in his approach, taking only two shots in 23 minutes of action. Russell will have Matthew Dellavedova defending him, so he’ll have to battle through some physical, aggressive defense on and off the ball. That said, Russell has the skill to do damage against Delly, should he show the right level of assertiveness.

I also want to see how Tarik Black and Julius Randle handle the length inside of John Henson and, after he goes to the bench, how they can attack the interior vs. Greg Monroe. These two are totally different types of defensive players and require different forms of attack to be effective, so I’d like to see how they alter their approach and whether the Lakers’ guards can aid in their success by getting into the paint and drawing help.

Lastly, the final game of a road trip can typically go one of two ways — either the team lacks focus in looking towards their return home or they ramp up their intensity and effort in order to end their trip on a high note. Needless to say, I am hoping to see the latter.

Where you can watch: 5:00pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.

Darius Soriano

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35 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Bucks

  1. It sucks that we the fans, especially those buying tickets for tonight’s Bucks game in Milwaukee, that we will all be ROBBED of the chance to experience ROY HIBBERT vs. TIMOFEY MOZGOV.  Hibbert is listed as INACTIVE and Mozgov is DE FACTO INACTIVE.  

    I wanted to see the over under on:
      1.)  How many times Hibbert falls to the floor.

        2.)  How many times Mozgov gets a foul while standing still with both of his hands outstretched                  straight UP

    Mikan, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, O’neal, Hibbert, Mozgov…………

  2. Clay Bertrand  Quite a circus it’s become, eh Clay? The kids who own the team apparently prepared for their roles by saying “thanks a lot, Dad!” over and over again ad naseum.

    And yet, as Darius points out, there is a game to be played …

    Several more, actually, I believe, before the curtain mercifully falls on this season.

  3. Lakers looking like they want to end their road trip on a high note. Good start to this game.

  4. Still R Clay Bertrand

    When we the fans actually have more reasonable business sense than the team owners, we have officially become TOTALLY HELPLESS and are growing HOPELESS.

  5. @Clay… Lol!!
    I thought Hibbert was still in Charlotte. I was surprised to learn Spenser Hawes and he went to Milwaukee for for a Plumlee. Maybe there’s hope for Mosgov/Deng trade?

  6. Amazing offensive first half by The Show! Everybody’s hot. Hope they can keep it up. Great ball movement to the tune of 20 assists.

  7. Jekyll & Hyde team”. Most nights is Dr Jekyll but every now and then Mr Hyde comes out to play…

  8. I dare to say that Zubac is going to be the starting center of the Lakers opening day next season…

  9. Zubac was a really good pick by the Lakers. Nice to see him get increased playing time as he is showing what he can do. He has nice feel for the game and is looking like a building block for the Lakers future.

  10. Im nervous…recerted to standing around and taking the game for granted…

  11. Lakers have been out-scored 14-2 early in the 4th and Antetokounmpo has 35 already and is a one-man wrecking crew.

  12. Whatever the Lakers are doing they need to pull a George Costanza  and do the opposite.

  13. Does Nance just not shoot anymore?

  14. Lakers hold on for the win. They built a large enough lead so their one terrible quarter did not cost them the game.

  15. I’m relieved that the Lakers won.  
    And I’m very impressed with Antetokounmpo (41 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists).  He’s a load.

  16. Was going to post something at the half but didn’t want to jinx it. Almost didn’t matter.
    Well 2 and 3 is not too bad for this Grammy trip. For 3 qtrs the ball movement was unrecognizable for this team. Don’t know if this is just what the learning curve looks like, but hope it comes a little easier from here on out.

  17. So glad we avoided a catastrophic collapse. Blowing 27 point lead would have been demoralizing especially to the young core.

  18. It’s nice to see a game where they can’t miss on those three’s–and hold on against that surge at the end–even on the road.  But where does that lead?
     It seems that the Lakers must do their best to win with the younger players–and succeed sometimes–like tonight–but not too much.
    It will be interesting how they play that out in games to come.

  19. What, no respect for shooting 82% in the first quarter?  The very young starters +1 came out on fire.  It will be even more fun when Clarkson gets some time with them.

  20. 30twhite40

    “Well you shoulda ordered the Salmon….Because Salmon swim UPSTREAM…”

    -Jerry Seinfeld

  21. Nice win and the beginning of the game is about as good as it gets for this group.

    However if you are looking for a reason:   NY + LW were 14-20  for 47 points

    When they miss we lose – when they are hot we have a chance to win.

    Also for those tracking the Deng/Mosgov situation:   Mosgov was a DNP Coach’s decision and Deng played 25 minutes and went 0-3.    3 more years after this one for both of them.   These are not small mistakes – they are monumental mistakes.

  22. I’d say that hard practice Luke put the team through paid some dividends in terms of overall effort and more acceptance of the BALL MOVEMENT philosophy he is instilling——Except for maybe DENG of course who in addition to his VETERAN PRESENCE AND MENTORING contributed yet another uninspiring Stat line.  

    Here below are the Game Stats for Deng and Mozgov for comparison:


    29 min  0-3FG    0-1 from 3  0-0FT  3 Reb (all Defensive)  0 Assists  1 steal  NO: Blocks, TO, or PFs


    0 Min    0-0FG    0-0 from 3 0-0FT   0 Reb   0 Assists 0 Steals 0 Blocks 0 TO 0 PFs

    Deng had 3 points 3 rebounds and 1 steal in 29 minutes.

    Now in Deng’s defense, he logged some heavy minutes because Ingram was getting handled early by Antetokounmpo and Deng was brought in to play some veteran Defense and keep him in check.  

    SO Antetokounmpo promptly scored a Career High with 41.  

    I’m making myself sick…………..

  23. _ Robert _


    But Deng’s such a great MENTOR though!!!!!!!!!!!!  What about this amazing MENTORING????!!!!!!!!!  

    Without Deng’s MENTORING, there’s no WAY we give up 52.6% shooting!!!!!!  
    We would not have won but not for this Mentorship………We have the best Mentors in the game.

  24. Speaking of Antetokounmpo, here is an interesting article on Walton’s take that he an Ingram are similar, and there are stats to back it up.

  25. Clay Bertrand _ Robert _ Clay, dude, you bust me up.  🙂

  26. Breaking, ESPN analytics suggests that Randle, Russell, and Ingram all could be on the path to stardom.  Each one has skills to develop but all are tracking favorably with the early careers of elite players.  It looks like it is up to each one to continue to make themselves the best player they can be.

  27. FredP

    Here is the link:

    And here is what the last paragraph actually says: 

    In the end, the young Laker trio is not exactly lighting up the NBA, but is showing some promise. Young players generally struggle, particularly when they are playing together (see: the Durant/Westbrook early years). To understand whether you have a real star-level prospect or not, look to the areas of weakness and see if they improve. If Randle shows improvement in his scoring efficiency, Russell begins to find his way to the free throw line more regularly and Ingram develops a more reliable three-point shot, the Lakers’ future could in fact be very bright.

  28. FredP

    What is this………..It feels weird………wait…..I think this is……OPTIMISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ; )

    Sometimes we all get a little too MICRO and can’t see the forest for the trees or rather, we CAN’T SEE THE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE LOSSES!!

    Thanks for the good vibes to go with this SUNSHINE we got back!!!

  29. new rr  FredP

    Thanks for the link.  I hadn’t seen this article.  I hope the FO, whoever runs it doesn’t give up too early on the wrong young player.

  30. Uh Oh……..First trade of the TRADING SEASON………Interesting……….. Maybe we can do the same with Orlando……..

  31. Talking about trades while simultaneously speaking about Magic, Jim, and the FO situation points out the overall absurdity of the situation.
    Are we sticking with the youngsters?  Are we looking to off load vets for picks? Are we trying to get good soon or are we on a 3 year plan?
    In order to have the answers to those you need a strategy.  In order to have a strategy, you need leadership and vision. Having an uncertain future for the FO with multiple parties involved makes the formation of leadership and a strategy almost impossible. 
    We could get lucky, but once again I am rooting for the Lakers to do nothing.   Unless they can unload vets for picks  (that is an incoming pick in the case of Williams, and out going picks in the case of others). The last time I rooted for the Lakers to do nothing we ended up with Deng and Mosgov. Speaking of:
    Interesting tweet by Darius in terms of what we would be willing to give up in order to unload Deng and Mosgov.  It would be costly.   I do not think Clarkson would do it.  I think we would need to give one of the 3 youngsters or our 2020 pick.  
    I am not even sure we can trade the 2020 pick as there are rules against teams completely sabotaging their futures by trading so many picks.  Those rules were originally made for teams like the Cavs from trading away all of of their picks.   And here we are with the Cavs as the defending champs and the Lakers checking the details of the NBA trade rule book.

  32. Clay Bertrand 
    Agree Clay ! 
    Especially now, this particular thread,..even after a win was like a black hole of doubt.
    Appreciate the perspective brother,..

  33. _ Robert _ 
    No comment about the post below by Fred,.. or is this an attempt to keep us on the elevator going down? Lol 
    Seriously though, I don’t see the logic in giving up one of our 3 kids, who represent compensation for three seasons of losses, and doing so just to unload bad contracts,..though maybe I am just not seeing this from the right pov,.. 
    What are your thoughts?

  34. Kev: No – I would not give up one of the 3 youngsters either. However I do think it would take that or a first rounder,   or we would have to take back someone else’s garbage contracts.   So in other words we are probably stuck for 3 more years   (wow).
    With regard to the article about the youngsters, my thoughts continue to be that Randle and DAR can be good players who might make an ASG or few, but will not be Super Stars.  Ingram is so young/under developed that there is hope, although the on the court so far, does not suggest that he will be a Super Star either.   I would be satisfied if we get 2 guys who are 3-5 (best players on the team) types for a good team.   Which means all we have to do is find two super stars and we will be fine   :   )
    How is that for optimism   :   )

  35. KevTheBold _ Robert _

    The Lakers aren’t good enough to be in a position to give up one of the three lotto picks. They would have to package at least two of them to land an ASG-level guy, and the roster would still be weak. 
    So same thing: ride it out and hope this crew/Luke/new FO can set the team up for a big move in 2-3 years.