The Bucks were beaten at home last night by the LA Lakers. During the game I could not help but get upset about the officiating, especially when it was 19 free throws to 1 in the first half in the Lakers favor but the truth is the Lakers are really freaking good and the refs had little to nothing to do with the outcome.
The Bucks started out on fire, hitting five of their first six three pointers yet throughout the first half they barely had a lead if any lead at all. Koby Bryant scored 31, have you ever seen a quieter 31? Pau Gasol had a double-double. We could live with those two, but it was the Lakers bench and other role players that just killed the Bucks last night.
Shannon Brown poured in 21, including 4-5 from three. Derek Fischer, Matt Barnes and Steve Blake combined for 25, including 6-7 from three. Talk about role players stepping up! I will go as far as to say this Lakers team would almost never get beat against any team from any era if these four role players combine for 10-12 from three. This was truly a great team the Bucks faced last night that can beat you in many ways, and Artest and Odom’s combined 20 barely garner mention. The role players for the Lakers are going to get shots because so much focus MUST be paid to Gasol and Kobe. Any leftover attention has to then go to Odom and Artest. If Brown, Blake, Barnes and Fischer hit shots the Lakers are unbeatable.
I am very proud to be a Bucks fan because of this loss. I do not believe in moral victories but to measure yourself against the best in the league you have to play against the best, and the Lakers are the best. If it were not for a late third quarter 10-0 run by the Lakers who knows what would have happened. The Bucks stood toe to toe with a great team. A great team that was rested and coming off of two straight losses. The Bucks did not catch the Lakers on an off night, this was a game the Lakers felt they needed and they brought it. This game was back and forth for most of the night with 24 lead changes and tied 18 times. The Bucks held up.
The Bucks effort last night would have been enough to beat any other team in the league, except maybe the Heat if they ever get it going. With the way the Bucks came out with energy and hitting shots most teams would have been down 20 in the first half. I view this game as a good measuring stick for the Bucks to see that they are not quite an elite team and to get there they need to learn to avoid similar droughts like the one that killed them in the third quarter where several empty possessions(mostly turnovers) virtually doomed them.
The Bucks are at Philly on Friday and host the Thunder on Saturday. In either game if the Bucks come close to the energy and shooting they had against the Lakers they will win both games going away. The important thing with this loss is to not let a loss to the best team in the league turn into multiple losses. It is ok to lose to the Lakers, it is not ok to allow that loss to fester into the next games.