Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bucks 94, Lakers 79
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- It was New Year's resolutions time for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, only the franchise's same old woes of 2013 -- injuries, inconsistent play, a general feeling of malaise -- stuck around for one more night before the calendar flipped to Jan. 1.
"I guess everybody wishes for the best, but I'm just trying to get to 2014," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game. "There's still a long ways to go."
If only D'Antoni's team could be as on point with its execution as he was with that prophetic statement.
What was the most depressing part about Tuesday night? It's a tough one. Was it that the Lakers scored a season-low 33 points in the first half? Was it that they had another player (Jordan Farmar) leave the game early because of an injury, another player (Chris Kaman) held out of the lineup because of a sore ankle and yet another player (Wesley Johnson) not even make it to the arena with his stomach illness? Was it that they lost to a Milwaukee team that came into Tuesday having lost eight of its last nine game to contribute to its league-worst 6-24 record? Or perhaps it was that the Lakers' losing streak reached a season-high six games? Maybe the boos the team was greeted by as it stalked off the court at the end of the night?
It was ugly any way you slice it. How ugly? A brief, but loud "We want Phil!" chant broke out among a small faction of fans at Staples Center in the fourth quarter.
Actually, the most depressing part about Tuesday night has to be the sobering realization that not even Phil Jackson and his 11 championship rings could help this team in turmoil.
How it happened: The Lakers fell behind 21-4 to start the game after it took them until the 5:08 mark remaining in the first quarter to score their first basket on a Pau Gasol jump shot. L.A. got back to within nine by halftime, before the Bucks pushed it up to 22 in the third. The Lakers showed faint signs of life as they pulled to within nine with 2:54 to go in the fourth quarter but never got closer than that.
What it means: The Lakers were supposed to pounce on this soft spot in the schedule to give themselves a chance with a an upcoming stretch of 10 of 11 games on the road. They have done nothing of the sort.
Hits:Nick Young (25 points) scored 20 or more for the sixth time in the last seven games as he filled in for Johnson in the starting lineup.