NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 27th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (24-46) at Milwaukee Bucks (13-58), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers are feeling pretty good about themselves and will take the confidence to the road Thursday for a showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
The Lakers welcomed back former head coach and current New York Knicks president Phil Jackson by handing the visitors a 127-96 beating Tuesday night at Staples Center. The Knicks led 22-14 heading into the second quarter, when the Lakers scored 36 of the next 56 points.
It got rough from there for the Knicks.
Los Angeles scored a franchise-best 51 points (51-31) in the third quarter and led by as many as 33 points. The 51-point stanza surpassed the old mark of 49 set in 1972 and 1966, and the 127 points were a season high. L.A. shot 57.8 percent and piled it on the Knicks with 18-of-28 3-pointers. It's bench also had an 82-21 advantage.
Xavier Henry led the reserves with 22 points and Nick Young followed with 20, making 5-of-6 3-pointers. The second unit shot 13-of-19 from 3-point range. Kent Bazemore netted 18 points to round out the high-scoring reserves, while Jodie Meeks paced the starters with 14.
"We had a good rhythm and turned up the intensity," Young said of the Lakers' third-quarter outburst. "We all had the hot hand."
The Lakers' hot hand led to their second straight win since losing four in a row and seven of eight games. Los Angeles is winless in its last three road assignments, 11-24 as the visitor and will make a stop at Minnesota on Friday.
Pau Gasol did not play versus the Knicks with an illness and neither did Steve Nash, who is battling a back issue. Gasol is out for Thursday's game and both Nash and Young (knee) are listed as questionable against the Bucks.
Milwaukee's losing streak fell to eight games with Monday's 106-98 setback to the Clippers in the finale of a four-game western road trip.
Ramon Sessions netted a season-high 28 points, and both Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Adrien scored 14 points for the Bucks, who are 1-11 since March 5 and were able to hang with the high-flying Clippers the entire game. Milwaukee shot 48 percent and trailed by only five points (79-74) after three quarters.
"I was very pleased with our effort," said Bucks head coach Larry Drew. "We competed. Ramon (Sessions) played well at both ends of the floor. It came down to making plays in the fourth quarter and we didn't. We have to be consistent."
Drew's squad has suffered eight or more losses in a row three times this season and has allowed 100-plus points in each of the current slide. On a positive twist, the Bucks have posted 40 or more points in the paint in each of the last 13 games, posting 49.5 ppg in that time.
Milwaukee is back home for two games versus the Lakers and Miami Heat, and is just 8-27 at the Bradley Center. Thursday's matchup with the Lakers is Milwaukee's last against the Western Conference this season.
Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) and guard O.J. Mayo (ankle) are both questionable Thursday.
The Bucks defeated the Lakers 94-79 on Dec. 31 at Staples Center thanks to Brandon Knight's 37 points. They have won four of the last five games in this series and two straight as the host.
03/27 10:24:09 ET