By Eric Pincus
9:59 PM PST, December 31, 2013
The Lakers aren't tanking but injuries are getting the job done.
Facing the worst team (by record) in the NBA, the Lakers fell to the Milwaukee Bucks, 94-79, on Tuesday night, welcoming the New Year with a thud.
Brandon Knight scored a career-high 37 points, including 18 in the third quarter.
The Lakers started the game by missing 11 shots in a row. A late fourth-quarter run wasn't enough to make up a deficit that had grown to 22 points in the third quarter.
Nick Young and Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 25 points each. Gasol returned from bronchitis and a sinus infection but managed to play 37 minutes.
Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Blake (elbow), Steve Nash (back), Xavier Henry (knee) and Wesley Johnson (gastroenteritis) all sat out against the Bucks.
Jordan Farmar also left with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter with tightness in his recently healed hamstring after playing 20 minutes, missing all five of his shot attempts. He'll be examined via ultrasound on Wednesday.
Recent signee Kendall Marshall had 10 points and seven assists in 28 minutes, the only other Laker in double figures.
Milwaukee shot 44.0% from the field. Ersan Ilyasova scored 15 and Luke Ridnour 11.
The Lakers shot just 35.8% from the field, struggling to hit shots for most of the night starting with a dreadful first quarter at 23.8%.
John Henson didn't play for the Bucks with a sprained ankle.
The Lakers (13-19) host the Utah Jazz (10-24) on Friday but the Bucks (7-24) will travel to Utah first to play the Jazz on Thursday.
Bucks 74, Lakers 60 (end of third quarter)
Brandon Knight scored 18 points in the third quarter, helping the Bucks extend the lead to 22 points before the Lakers closed the gap to 14 with a late run.
Knight has scored 33 points in 29 minutes on 15-of-22 shooting as the Bucks shot 47.1% from the field.
Nick Young is leading the Lakers with 19 points while Pau Gasol has contributed 17. The Lakers are shooting only 36.4% from the field.
Ersan Ilyasova was Knight's only teammate in double figures with 10 points.
Earlier in the season the Lakers had one of the highest scoring benches in the NBA. Injuries have decimated the team's depth, though.
Bucks 42, Lakers 33 (halftime)
The Lakers were better in the second quarter, marginally, outscoring the Bucks by two points.
Pau Gasol leads the Lakers with 10 points, although the team shot only 28.3% from the field in the first half.
Milwaukee shot 40.8%, led by 15 points from Brandon Knight and eight from Ersan Ilyasova.
Nick Young contributed eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. Kendall Marshall gave a solid nine minutes with five points on 2-2 shooting along with four assists.
Bucks 23, Lakers 12 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers missed their 11 shots in a row to open the game against the league's worst team, quickly falling behind by as many as 17 points.
Lakers power forward Pau Gasol finally scored with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
The Lakers finished the quarter with 12 points on 5-of-21 shooting (23.8%). They also had seven turnovers.
Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with nine points. Ersan Ilyasova added eight for the Bucks, who shot 40.7% from the field.
Nick Young led the Lakers with five points.
The Lakers (13-18) will look to end their five-game losing streak on Tuesday night at Staples Center when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (6-24).
Power forward Pau Gasol is expected to return from an upper respiratory infection but forward Xavier Henry (knee) will sit along with guards Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Blake (elbow) and Steve Nash (back).
Gurad Nick Young will start for forward Wesley Johnson, who is suffering through a stomach bug but could be available to play.
The Bucks will be without John Henson (ankle).
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks.
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