Preview: Lakers hope to end five-game losing streak in Milwaukee

Preview: Lakers hope to end five-game losing streak in Milwaukee
The Lakers' Kobe Bryant gets fouled by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during a Dec. 15 game at Staples Center. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers (11-46) continue their three-game road trip on Monday, visiting the Milwaukee Bucks (23-33).

Dropping their fifth game in a row, the Lakers fell on Sunday in Chicago to the Bulls, 126-115. They'll draw a young, talented Bucks team on the second night of a back-to-back.


Milwaukee hasn't played as well as hoped this season, sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 6.5 games behind the eighth-place Chicago Bulls.

Guard Greivis Vasquez (ankle) is out, while John Henson (back) and Jerryd Bayless (knee) have been trying to get healthy.

Although Kobe Bryant dislocated the middle finger of his shooting hand on Friday, he didn't miss Sunday against the Bulls and is expected to play in Milwaukee.

The Bucks added former Clippers forward, shooter Steve Novak, on Monday, waiving forward Chris Copeland.

Key matchup

Milwaukee has one of the NBA's most intriguing young players in forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

At nearly 7-feet tall, Antetokounmpo can play nearly any position on the floor. On the season he's averaging 16 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists a night, while shooting 50.2% from the field.

Antetokounmpo needs to improve his outside shot (just 23.2% from three-point range) and reduce his turnovers (2.5 a night), but he's long, agile and has potential to be a lockdown defender.

He'll get a chance to guard Bryant in the All-Star's final career appearance in Milwaukee against the Bucks.

Bryant is at 17.2 points a game, shooting just 35.2% from the field.


Coach Jason Kidd has the tandem of Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams coming in off the bench, with Miles Plumlee and O.J. Mayo as starters.

The Lakers went through a similar process earlier in the year, but Julius Randle returned to the starting lineup when rookie Larry Nance Jr. struggled with a sore knee. Randle has emerged as a reliable double-double threat nightly, with his strength in scoring and rebounding.

Rookie D'Angelo Russell also returned to the starting lineup after sitting behind veteran Lou Williams for most of the year.


The Bucks still have a faint chance at a postseason berth, while the Lakers are long out of the picture, and better suited developing their younger players like Randle and Russell.


The Bucks are a vulnerable team but the Lakers have yet to show they can take advantage. Expect Milwaukee to get the win on Monday.

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