Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Sunday, December 7th
Bucks92Final
Lakers105
Game 2: Wednesday, April 1st
Lakers104Final
Bucks98

Bucks 92

(9-13, 4-9 away)

Lakers 105

(17-2, 10-1 home)

    Coverage: FSWI

    9:30 PM ET, December 7, 2008

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 16 15 23 3892
    LAL 24 19 31 31105

    Top Performers

    Milwaukee: L. Mbah a Moute 14 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

    Los Angeles: K. Bryant 20 Pts, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    Bucks-Lakers Preview

    STATS LLC

    The Los Angeles Lakers were hardly thrilled with their latest win, a game where they nearly blew a 20-point lead to the Eastern Conference's worst team to cap their road trip.

    The improving Milwaukee Bucks weren't satisfied with their most recent victory either.

    Any win against Los Angeles would qualify as impressive, and on Sunday night the Bucks will try to win for just the third time in their last 17 road games versus the Lakers, who have been dominating opponents at home.

    Los Angeles (16-2) has looked impressive wherever it's played this season, winning by an average of 12.2 points overall and 13.4 points at Staples Center.

    The Lakers won their first five road games by 14.4 points before suffering their first loss away from home Tuesday in Indiana, 118-117 on a buzzer-beating tip-in. They looked sharp in a 12-point win over Philadelphia the next night, but that wasn't the case Friday in Washington.

    Los Angeles built a 99-80 lead with less than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but nearly lost all of it as the Wizards scored 22 of the game's next 26 points. Yet after Caron Butler's 3-pointer missed at the buzzer, the Lakers walked away with a 106-104 win and a 2-1 road trip.

    "We have to make sure our minds are always in the game, no matter how big the lead is," said Pau Gasol, who averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds on the trip. "We need to make sure we finish things off."

    Coach Phil Jackson took the late breakdown a step further, blaming himself for letting some of his reserves start the fourth quarter while Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom watched from the bench.

    "Poor coaching," Jackson said. "That's what it was tonight. Putting too much trust and faith in a younger group -- a second unit. They just can't hold it on the road. They can't withstand the fury or the intensity of the fourth quarter. I'm going to have to change it up a little bit."

    The Lakers weren't the only ones feeling underwhelmed by their latest win. Milwaukee (9-12) wasn't pleased with a 101-96 home victory over struggling Charlotte on Friday, a game that was tight throughout.

    "It's good to get a win, but looking back, we didn't play pretty well," said center Andrew Bogut, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds. "You can't take a lot of positives out of it when they shoot 52 percent from the field. We're very, very lucky to get a win."

    The Bucks lost all three games that Bogut missed with a bruised left knee, but have won both since he's returned. Bogut's return has also coincided with Michael Redd being back in the starting lineup.

    Redd missed 14 games with a sprained right ankle, and he's averaged 19.3 points since his return, including 25 in the win against Charlotte.

    Redd averaged 24.0 points last season against the Lakers as the teams split the season series, with each winning at home. Los Angeles won 110-105 at Staples Center on Jan. 11 behind 37 points from Bryant, and probably the best performance of center Andrew Bynum's young career. He finished 10-of-13 for 25 points and a then career-high 17 rebounds.

    Bynum, who's been dealing with a small bone spur in his right foot, has scored at least 17 points in five straight games.

    The Bucks have lost 14 of 16 at Staples Center to the Lakers, but the last five meetings have all been decided by five points or less.

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