LeBron And The Lakers Put The Clamps Down Defensively In A Statement Win Over The Bucks

In what could very well be an NBA Finals preview, the Lakers and the Bucks squared off at Staples Center on Friday night in their last meeting of the season, with both teams eager to prove their mettle and leave a lasting impression in the minds of their opponents.

In the end, it was the Lakers who emerged victorious with a 113-103 win behind a vintage effort from LeBron James, who finished with 37 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals, while getting treated to MVP chants from the home crowd all night on their way to their ninth win in their last 10 games.

The Lakers are now 20-0 this season when LeBron scores 30 or more points, and he was making his presence felt all game, taking defenders into the post and driving hard to the basket regardless of who was guarding him.

They got plenty of help from Anthony Davis, who added 30 points and nine rebounds and came up big in crunch time as he scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. Overall, the Lakers were able to overcome a horrid shooting night from three, as they made just 6-of-32 (18.8 percent) for the game.

For the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s just the 10th loss of the season, as they entered the game with the best record in the NBA and have been on pace for 70 wins. Giannis Antetokounmpo was his usual dominant self as he led the Bucks with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists, but didn’t get much help from his supporting cast as the Lakers were able to put the clamps on defensively.

L.A. was able to hold Kris Middleton to just 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-10 from three-point territory, while Eric Bledsoe was likewise limited to 11 points on 5-of-13 from the field and went 0-of-3 from downtown. The Bucks’ other outside threat, Wesley Matthews, was a dreadful 1-of-6 overall for three points.

The only real help they got was from Brook Lopez, who was 4-of-5 from the field (and 3-of-4 from three) for 13 points, and Donte DiVincenzo, who chipped in 17 points and made some timely threes to help keep Milwaukee within striking distance late.

For Los Angeles, it was proof that they could turn the screws defensively on even the hottest team in the league, despite their own shooting woes. Now, the Lakers will have to turn their attention to their next big test, a matchup against the Clippers this Sunday afternoon on ABC.