Rapid Reaction: Bucks 108, Lakers 105
March, 27, 2014
By Dave McMenamin
MILWAUKEE -- The city of Milwaukee has not been good to Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni over the years.
His history with the place dates to November 1973 -- his rookie season with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings -- when he broke his hand in the first start of his career.
"Had to go to the hospital in my warm-ups, it wasn't good," D'Antoni said before the Los Angeles Lakers played the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday. "Oscar Robertson broke it, so that's how it goes."
So much for the Big O. More like the Big Ouch for D'Antoni.
Then there was this season when Milwaukee most recently messed with the coach -- the Bucks' 94-79 beatdown of the Lakers on New Year's Eve.
At the time, D'Antoni declared it "rock bottom," as it marked the Lakers' sixth straight loss to drop them to 13-19.
Considering the Lakers have gone just 11-27 since then, Thursday's game against the Bucks gave D'Antoni a chance to revisit his remark.
"There's been a lot of rock bottoms," D'Antoni said shortly before tip-off. "That could be one. Yeah, that sounds good. I don't remember it. It feels like a lifetime ago."
Thursday felt more like déjà vu.
The Bucks came into the game losers of eight games in a row and 11 of their previous 12 overall.
But there's nothing like feeling good about yourself against the Lakers. At least this season, anyway.
And D'Antoni was left with some more Milwaukee memories he'd rather forget.
How it happened: The Lakers used a 19-4 run in the first quarter to erase an early eight-point deficit, but then found themselves down by double digits in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee (55.7 percent as a team) couldn't miss. L.A. didn't lay down, drawing to within three points with 16.7 seconds left after Nick Young hit his second 3-pointer in the game's final minutes. Zaza Pachulia scored a layup with 10.5 seconds left off of a well-executed inbounds play to push the Bucks back up by five. But Kent Bazemore followed with a difficult 3-pointer with 2.0 seconds left, bringing L.A. back within two. Ramon Sessions (remember him?) was fouled on the next possession, going 1-for-2 from the line with 0.6 seconds left, putting Milwaukee back up by three, setting up the final play of the game. After a timeout, Young couldn't get a handle on Jodie Meeks' pass and didn't get a chance to attempt a potentially tying 3 before the buzzer sounded.
What it means: Those Lakers fans worried about L.A.'s recent two-game win streak (including a rout of the New York Knicks) can rest easy. It was a "tank you very much" kind of a night for the Lakers, who fell to 24-47 with 11 games left to play and got back to their losing ways.
Hits: Hill led L.A. with 28 points on 13-for-17 shooting, matching his career high he set two games ago, and had 16 rebounds.
Meeks (10 points) extended his double-digit scoring streak to nine games.
After missing the team flight to Milwaukee because of personal reasons, Chris Kaman arrived on his own on a commercial flight, getting to the arena just before the tip. He finished with 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
Misses: The Lakers had 20 turnovers leading to 20 points for Milwaukee.
Xavier Henry shot just 2-for-8 and looked to be limping on his bum knee.
Pau Gasol (vertigo), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Jordan Farmar (groin) and, of course, Kobe Bryant (knee), did not play.
Stat of the game: 45. That's how many games under .500 the Bucks were coming into the game.
Up next: The Lakers head to Minnesota for the second night of a back-to-back Friday against the Timberwolves. The Wolves have dropped three of their past four games.