Netface. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Los Angeles Lakers 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
113 Milwaukee Bucks
Marquis Daniels, SF 30 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +14Without question, this was his finest game of the season. Defensively, he hounded Kobe Bryant as well as anyone on the Bucks could have. He absorbed Kobe’s body blows in the post and challenged all of his jumpers, turning some would be open looks into challenging fadeaway jumpers. And on the other end, Daniels provided a spark we typically don’t see. He found himself open in the paint over and over, with the ball in his hands and made his short shots. All the Bucks ask out of him is defense, but he went above and beyond Thursday.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF 31 MIN | 8-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +20The Lakers are a challenge for Ilyasova. Especially when they force feed Pau Gasol as they did in the third quarter. Possession after possession, Kobe came down the court, passed to Gasol, got the ball back on a kick out after a soft double team came and forced it back in to his big man. He wanted him to attack Ilyasova. Gasol gave it a shot and had some moderate success. But he wasn’t able to take over on offense. Defensively, that’s enough out of Ilyasova, as he made the Lakers work on the other end, bombing away from outside and occasionally attacking off the dribble.
Larry Sanders, C 30 MIN | 8-11 FG | 5-10 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +22A new career high without a shot coming outside 15 feet. In fact, 10 of Larry’s attempts came from within five feet of the hoop on Thursday night. It’s easy to score when the shots aren’t so difficult. Larry had been making things difficult for himself lately, launching long jumpers or attacking off the dribble with increasing regularity. He got back to basics on Thursday and it served him well, as teammates continued to find him heading to the rim.
Monta Ellis, PG 36 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 9 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +26Ellis had eight points, two assists and two rebounds in yet another strong fourth quarter as the Bucks opted for him at the point guard spot to carry them home. There’s not much to say about Ellis at this point, and that’s kind of a good thing. He’s producing the same stellar lines on a fairly consistent basis at this point thanks to much stronger efforts near the hoop. He was 5-for-7 within five feet on Thursday against a Lakers team that struggles to contain quick perimeter players.
Brandon Jennings, PG 32 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +11Another quick perimeter player that had success against the Lakers. Jennings again didn’t get the call late in the fourth quarter, but Jim Boylan went out of his way to make it clear it wasn’t because of Jennings. He was ready to go back to him when the Lakers went back to Steve Nash, but the Lakers never made that move, as Nash was struggling with a back injury. Boylan was effusive in his praise of his point guard after the game, after Jennings had a tough Wednesday.
Ish Smith, PG 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -10“He’s a young player, he gets in there and he’s playing as hard as he can,” Boylan said about Ish Smith who, basically, made his Bucks rotation debut Thursday. “He’s quick, he made a couple things happen, he made a couple mistakes, but I thought all the guys that came in and gave us a little bit of a lift. I was happy to get Ish out there and let him stretch his legs a bit.”

I was glad to see Boylan’s approach, if only because it kept Monta Ellis under 40 minutes for once. Jennings and Ellis need a blow and Smith looked competent enough to give them one for 5-10 minutes.

J.J. Redick, SG 22 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -5He’s still struggling with his shot. At some point, he’s probably going to start getting hot from three and that’s going to be scary.
Jim Boylan“You lose four games in a row, it’s time to shake it up a little bit,” Boylan said of his decision to insert Ish Smith and a very defensive lineup later in the first and early in the second quarter.

The lineup: Smith, Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ekpe Udoh and Sam Dalembert, was incapable of scoring and was a net -4, but at least it gave a break to Milwaukee’s regulars. It didn’t cost Milwaukee the game and could have helped preserve the energy. What’s the harm in trying it? Well done.

Two Things We Saw

  1. These aren’t THE LAKERS. But Milwaukee still beat the Lakers, a playoff type team in the West, where playoff type teams aren’t easy to beat. So kudos to the Bucks on winning over a 50/50 home crowd by the end of the game with a pretty complete effort, at least once the first quarter was over.
  2. 12 different variations of Kobe Bryant jerseys. And some of these people were BEGGING for Bucks t-shirts when the crew threw them into the crowd. HOW DARE YOU, Lakers jersey wearing fella or lady. Have some dignity and self-respect. If you’re going to play the role of the villain, THEN PLAY THE ROLE OF THE VILLAIN! Don’t beg for a prize like a child at Chuck E. Cheese. Goodness. Bucks fans took great pleasure in seeing the many of these folks go home unhappy on Thursday night. At least they were unhappy until they got to their car and completely forgot about the game because they don’t really care about the Lakers or Bucks one way or the other.