NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 28th
(All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (37-35) at Milwaukee Bucks (34-36), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers ended a three-game losing streak on
Wednesday and will continue their road trip Thursday when they visit the
The Lakers knocked off the Minnesota Timberwolves, 120-117 on Wednesday night.
The victory kept the Lakers one game ahead of the Utah Jazz, and 1 1/2 games
in front of the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth and final spot in the Western
The Bucks are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and are in no real
jeopardy of missing the postseason. They fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in
Philly on Wednesday, but are 7 1/2 up on those same 76ers for the last spot in
The Lakers played their first game without Metta World Peace on Wednesday. The
forward will be sidelined six weeks after surgery to repair a torn lateral
Kobe Bryant slid to the small forward spot and Jodie Meeks got the start at
Los Angeles built a 12-point lead after three quarters, thanks to 41 points in
the third. The Wolves started fouling Dwight Howard intentionally to get back
in the game and the strategy paid off. Howard went 2-for-8 from the foul line
late in the game and the T'Wolves cut the lead to three.
Bryant could've iced the game, but missed a free throw. He atoned for the
miscue when he blocked Ricky Rubio's 3-point shot to tie it, a block Minnesota
thought was a foul.
"That's not a foul. They are not calling that," Bryant said. "That is a tough
call to make. I just put my hand there, it is not like I went out and smacked
him across the arm or anything like that. It is what it is."
Bryant had 31 points, while Howard posted 25 points, 16 rebounds and five
blocks. Pau Gasol, playing in only his third game since a foot injury, scored
17, Antawn Jamison added 18 off the bench and Steve Nash netted 16.
The Bucks actually took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter against the
Sixers, but went ice cold in the final frame. Milwaukee shot 31 percent over
the final 12 minutes to manage just 14 points and lose, 100-92.
Wednesday's setback was Milwaukee's fourth in a row.
"You can point to a lot of things," Milwaukee forward Mike Dunleavy said.
"We've got to bounce back and get a win."
The Bucks may have dropped four in a row, but received some great individual
performances on Wednesday night.
Monta Ellis led all scorers with 29 points. Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points and
18 rebounds and Larry Sanders added 15 points and nine rebounds. Sanders'
streak of eight straight games with 10-plus rebounds ended.
The Lakers have taken seven of the last nine against the Bucks and eight of
their last 11 in Milwaukee.
03/28 10:40:52 ET