For the second consecutive night, the Milwaukee Bucks were simply unable to consistently make shots.
And for the second consecutive night, the Bucks found themselves on the losing end of an overall ugly contest.
It seems like an elementary analysis – “unable to make shots” – but that’s what Thursday’s game boiled down to. Less than 24 hours after shooting a despicable 28.6 percent against the Warriors, Milwaukee managed to shoot just 26-of-72 (36.1 percent) from the floor and 6-of-28 from beyond the arc.
The Lakers didn’t fare much better, shooting less than a percentage point higher than Milwaukee at 36.8 percent.
But a quick peek at the box score reveals shooting percentages were not the only commonalities between the two squads. Los Angeles gained a 40-39 rebounding edge, while Milwaukee’s 13 assists were one better than the Lakers’ 12. Los Angeles committed 14 turnovers compared to 13 for the Bucks.
Marcus Landry, the Lakers’ leading scorer entering the contest, notched a game-high 18 points to go with six rebounds, while Robert Sacre chipped in 16 points and eight boards.
John Henson dominated the glass yet again for Milwaukee, grabbing 13 rebounds and adding 16 points – both team-highs. Henson is averaging nearly 14 rebounds per game in Las Vegas and looks to have improved his positioning defensively. Dominique Jones, the Bucks’ primary scoring option through three games, was held to 11 points on 2-of-6 shooting in 24 minutes.
Back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench Wednesday, Ish Smith chipped in 11 points (5-11 FG, 1-3 3Pt), five boards and three assists. Nate Wolters, who started in Smith’s place Wednesday, added 9 points (4-11 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 1-3 FT) and a pair of assists.
A few notes:
- Late in the game, Milwaukee’s coaching staff provided a glimpse of what they perhaps believe to be the team’s strongest lineup. With the Lakers leading 64-62 at the four-minute mark, Smith and Henson checked into the game – replacing Clint Chapman and Scott Suggs – to join Jones, Wolters and sharpshooter John Shurna. Wolters will join Smith and Henson in training camp in the fall, but it appears Jones and Shurna could be on the verge of earning invitations themselves.
- Nate Wolters almost showed some emotion in the fourth quarter. The usually-composed rookie picked off a sideline inbounds pass with 3:00 minutes remaining in the game and finished at the other end while absorbing a bump from Lester Hudson. He missed the ensuing free throw, but the tough lay-in knotted the game at 64, and Wolters dished out a few strong-armed high-fives to the bench – not the emotion you usually see from him, or anyone for that matter, in a summer league game.
- Gustavo Ayon sat out the contest to rest, and the Bucks’ interior defense suffered, as Sacre, Landry and rookie Elias Harris were oftentimes too much for Henson and Co. to handle in the paint. The trio combined for 22 rebounds, while committing just five fouls and one turnover.
- Mike Breuesewitz, Junior Cadougan and Andreja Milutinovic were the three DNP-CD’s for Milwaukee. It remains highly unlikely that any of the trio earn a training camp invitation, which comes as no surprise.
- The loss drops ninth-seeded Milwaukee out of the winner’s bracket, while the eight-seed Lakers will move on to face the winner of Thursday night’s Warriors-Mavericks matchup (10:30 ET).
- However, the Bucks’ tour of Sin City isn’t quite over yet. They’ll square off with the tenth-seeded San Antonio Spurs – who fell to the Cavaliers on Thursday – in an ultimately meaningless game Friday afternoon (8:00 ET).