Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers buck no trends in loss at Milwaukee

Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers buck no trends in loss at Milwaukee
Lakers forward Kobe Bryant smiles at Bucks Coach Jason Kidd as he walks onto the court during the second quarter. (Mike McGinnis / Getty Images)

It was a fitting final game in Wisconsin for Kobe Bryant, not to mention par for the Lakers' season.

Bryant has rarely dazzled in Milwaukee, hitting a game-winning shot in 2009 and, well, you know, have you heard about his on-court exploits in Boston, San Antonio and Madison Square Garden?


He had a tough time Monday, making three of 12 shots, and the Lakers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks, 108-101, a deceptively close final score.

The Lakers (11-47) no-showed at BMO Harris Bradley Center, their interest in the game occupying slightly more time than it took to say the multi-syllabic arena name.

Center Miles Plumlee punctured them with dunk after dunk, and if you haven't heard of him, it's OK. He has a brother named Mason who's also in the NBA, in case you didn't know.

The Lakers' youth took a step back, Julius Randle scoring five points and D'Angelo Russell a quiet nine. Even Jordan Clarkson couldn't avoid a Lakers letdown, scoring 15 points in the first half and none after that.

At least there was the ever-quotable Byron Scott to liven things up, although most of his verbal work was done before the game.

What did Russell and Randle learn after being demoted 20 games into the season?

"Humility," the Lakers coach said. "Just bring you back down to Earth a little bit, let you know that nothing's going to be given to you. I think both those guys understand that now. Hopefully they've got a long career in this league. Humility to me is something that's big-time."

Russell was in his second game back as a starter while Randle regained his status more than a month ago, albeit via Larry Nance Jr.'s continually sore right knee, which on Monday forced him to again leave a game amid talk he might be shut down the rest of the season.

Scott did add that he saw growth from Russell and Randle over the last month or so.

"From both those guys, absolutely," he said.

Bryant didn't go away empty-handed, taking the 7,000th rebound of his career off a missed shot by Khris Middelton a few minutes into the game. It was noteworthy because only 102 players have reached that milestone.

Bryant also managed to get to the foul line quite a bit, making eight of nine free throws and finishing with 15 points. He took a seat for good with 3:13 left in the third quarter and the Lakers trailing by 19 points. Their deficit would grow to 28 points before a fourth-quarter surge fueled by Nick Young, who finished with 19 points, made the score somewhat respectable.

Some things, however, continue to be repeated.

Coming into the game, the Lakers were last in the league in field-goal accuracy at 41.4% and in assists per game at 18.1. While we're at it, they were 24th in steals per game at 7.1 and 21st in blocked shots at 4.4.


They made 36.8% of their shots Monday, had 18 assists and seven steals. It's little wonder they have the NBA's second-worst record.

They enjoyed a rare easy victory against the Bucks in December at Staples Center, but it's going to be a long night when you allow Plumlee to score 14 points without missing any of his seven shots.

Giannis Antetokounmpo piled on with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He had twice as many blocked shots (four) as the Lakers and added three steals.

Bryant, after logging 24 minutes, stood for postgame interviews at a microphone in front of a Lakers-themed backdrop. There was no chair or table set out for him.

It looked like a perfect set-up to deliver stand-up comedy, more than appropriate for a season with so many punch lines.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan