Lakers’ 47-point first quarter leads to victory over Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, Wis. >> Nine days after they left home, the Lakers were just a couple of hours away from boarding a plane and heading back to Los Angeles. Luke Walton knew what that could mean. When his team faced a similar situation back in December, it...

Lakers’ 47-point first quarter leads to victory over Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, Wis. >> Nine days after they left home, the Lakers were just a couple of hours away from boarding a plane and heading back to Los Angeles. Luke Walton knew what that could mean. When his team faced a similar situation back in December, it was humiliated in Orlando.

What awaited the Lakers in Milwaukee? Walton ran the Lakers into the ground during practice on Thursday. Even if they were exhausted for Friday’s game, he would ensure they stayed engaged.

“It’s moments like these you really see if the team has gotten mentally tougher,” Walton said.

In the end, mental toughness had little to do with it, but the Lakers beat the Bucks 122-114 after Milwaukee All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo almost single-handedly slashed the Lakers’ 27-point lead to five points with a minute left in the game.

Antetokounmpo, the Greek Freak as he’s known, scored 41 points and added eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals.

However with 33 seconds remaining Antetokounmpo whipped the ball out of bounds and a video review confirmed the Lakers had not deflected the ball, allowing them to escape with a harder-than-expected victory.

Until then it was beginning to resemble the Lakers’ Dec. 20 game in Charlotte, when the Lakers lost after scoring 73 points in the first half.

Walton saw better results than he likely could have imagined in the first three quarters.

When Nick Young drew a foul on a 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the second quarter, he fell to the ground and performed a backward somersault as the ball dropped through the net. As amazed as anyone, Young flipped over and splayed himself on the court in satisfaction.

Young swished the free throw and the Lakers went into halftime with 76 points, their most in a half since Mike D’Antoni was the coach.

Young finished with a team-high 26 points, while Lou Williams scored 21 off the bench. Julius Randle finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while rookie Ivica Zubac was on his heels with 15 and six.

Brandon Ingram’s third game as the starting small forward was his roughest. He scored just two points on three shots in 22 minutes.

It was a dizzying offensive display from a team that ranks 24th of 30 teams in points per 100 possessions and in the bottom 10 in field goal percentage. In the first quarter alone Friday, the Lakers poured in 47 points. Easy to do when you make 18 of 22 shots, a tidy 81.8 percent.

By halftime, that number had dropped to a mere 69.1 points. At the end of three periods, they had scored 103 points, one off their per game average.

Walton probably would have liked to load the bus and head to the airport right then. Some of the Lakers may as well have, because they disappeared.

The Bucks outscored L.A. 30-19 in the final period. That 82 percent shooting clip in the first quarter was a distant memory as the Lakers made just 5 of 20 shots.

Nine days after leaving home, it was just enough.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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