Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers-Bucks Preview: The Swaggy P Show Rolls Into Town

 

The Lakers are on track to finish with the worst record in franchise history. Kobe Bryant is not pleased.

Who’s playing?

The Los Angeles Lakers (24-46) and the Milwaukee Bucks (13-58)

Where are they playing?

The BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

When are they playing?

Thursday, March 27. 7:00 PM ET.

What’s at stake?

Ping-pong balls, ping-pong balls, ping-pong balls and ping-pong balls. Despite the Sixers currently riding a 25-game losing streak, the Bucks (somehow) maintain a two-game lead in the race for the league’s worst record. Impressive, huh? Finishing as such would guarantee Milwaukee no worse than the fourth selection in the draft.

The Lakers are in a dogfight with Sacramento, Utah, Boston and Detroit for the rights to the fourth-worst record behind Milwaukee, Philly and Orlando.

A loss would also send Milwaukee to its third losing streak of at least nine games this season. That’s tough to do.

Couresty of ESPN.com

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Did the Lakers win their last game?

They did, a 127-96 thrashing of the Knicks on Tuesday. Xavier Henry led the way with 22 points and three rebounds off the bench.

Did the Bucks win their last game?

What do you think?

Who’s their best player?

The struggles in Lakerland this season have been well documented, and with Kobe Bryant out of the lineup, it seems like someone new steps up on a nightly basis. Pau Gasol is clearly the top player (aside from Kobe), but he did not accompany the team on its Midwest road trip (the Lakers play in Minnesota on Friday) due to vertigo. So, that leaves… Jodie Meeks? Nick Young? Chris Kaman?!

Who’s hot for the Bucks?

Ramon Sessions led all scorers in Monday’s loss to the Clippers, pouring in 28 points (13-21 FG) to go with seven assists and six rebounds in a game-high 44 minutes. Brandon Knight has typically shouldered the brunt of the offensive burden since the All-Star break, but he’s struggled offensively of late, shooting a combined 5-of-24 from the field over the last two games.

What’s the key matchup?

Similar to Milwaukee, the Lakers play a deep (10-11 man) rotation stocked with a whole lot of average players. Without Gasol, it’s anyone’s guess who will step up and assume the offensive burden on a given night. Against New York on Tuesday, it was Nick Young and Xavier Henry combining for 42 points off the bench, but it just as easily could have been Jodie Meeks or Kent Bazemore or Jordan Hill or Kendall Marshall. Basically, if you haven’t heard of a guy, there’s a good chance he’s led the Lakers in scoring at least once this season.

What’s the injury situation?

Pau Gasol (vertigo), Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (everything) and Jordan Farmar (groin) will not play for Los Angeles.

Larry Sanders (face), Nate Wolters (hand) and Carlos Delfino (foot) are out for Milwaukee. Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) is questionable after sitting out Monday’s contest.

What happened last time they played?

Milwaukee prevailed 94-79 on New Year’s Eve behind 37 points from Brandon Knight. The win gave the Bucks their seventh win of the season and snapped a three game losing streak. Following the victory, Milwaukee promptly lost nine straight.

When do they play again?

They don’t. This one’s for all the marbles.

Any unique fan giveaways?

Funny you should ask. Thursday is Larry Sanders bobblehead night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. It’s been a rough year for Larry, but that’s a damn good-looking bobblehead. On a scale of Kawhi Leonard to 10, I’ll give it a nine in terms of accuracy.

(Seriously, this Leonard bobblehead from Feb. 26 is an absolute atrocity)

Projected starters

Lakers

C – Chris Kaman

PF – Jordan Hill

SF – Wes Johnson

SG – Jodie Meeks

PG – Kendall Marshall

Bucks

C – Zaza Pachulia

PF – Jeff Adrien

SF – Khris Middleton

SG – Ramon Sessions

PG – Brandon Knight

Team rankings

Lakers

Scoring: 12th (102.3)

Scoring defense: 29th (108.4)

Rebounding: 23rd (41.3)

Assists: 4th (23.9)

Bucks

Scoring: 28th (95.3)

Scoring defense: 25th (103.5)

Rebounding: 24th (41.2)

Assists: 16th (21.6)

Leaders

Points: Knight (17.4), Gasol (17.5)

Assists: Knight (4.9), Marshall (9.0)

Rebounds: Henson (7.3), Gasol (9.8)

Blocks: Henson (1.8), Gasol (1.5)

PER: Henson (17.7), Gasol (19.6)

Dec. 31 Highlights

Tags: Bucks Lakers Milwaukee Bucks

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