Lakers vs Bucks HIGHLIGHTS Full Game | NBA January 2021
The Lakers and the Bucks may be the dominant No. 1 seeds in their respective games, but both have failed to make a single win so far this season. Both had a chance to do just that in a serious clash on national television, and defending champions Lakers took the lead, 113-106, giving them their second consecutive win over Milwaukee. from last season.
And just like last season’s battle, LeBron James was the star of the match with 34 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds. He may have taken the lead, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did share his heavy lifting as well as hitting seven out of 10 3-point attempts to bring the Lakers to victory. The Bucks, meanwhile, went up flat from behind the arc just like they did on Monday in Brooklyn, only 9 of their 28 3, and despite 67 points from their star trio Giannis Antetokounmpo Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who played their roles just couldn’t gather enough sluggishness to bring the Bucks to victory.
The Lakers have now reclaimed the Western Conference No. 1 seed with a 12-4 record. Bucks, currently 9-6, fell to 3rd place in the East. With Brooklyn coming together and Boston and Philadelphia soaring, Milwaukee will have to quickly find these issues ahead of top-tier teams if it wants to repeat the conference’s regular season lead top spot.
Old LeBron is here at last
There is no exact plan to stop LeBron, but at least the defensive capabilities can cling to the fact that he is largely not an elite gunman. Lying below the screen, sagging as an inferior player was trying to cook, the basic methodology for the most part had become “good, he could miss 3, but he wouldn’t miss.” Sadly for the NBA defense, he no longer lacks a number 3. Over 16 games, James is currently 39.6% behind the arc. Without that last miss, he would be at 40% for the season.
It was a mark he made just once in his career, in the 2012-13 season with the Miami Heat. He did it with 3.3 tries per game. He doubled that number this season with 6.6. James’s new emphasis on long shadows is not entirely new. His volume has increased steadily over the years, and he also quietly feels comfortable at longer distances. But it all came together this season in a way that terrified his opponents. Their last sensible method of protecting him is no longer viable, and if his shooting holds, he should be able to hold out Father Time for a while.
The Lakers roster is in full swing
It would be one thing if LeBron was the only Laker in hot form. The defense could then justify people’s sagging. But the people who played Laker shot it as well as LeBron did. The Lakers hit the 40% mark as a team on Thursday. Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are both over 50%. Kyle Kuzma has played around 40 games throughout the season. Of the 14 players who hit the floor for the Lakers this season, eight were on Thursday, well above the 35.8% average of last season.
This is probably just a random variance. It could be a benefit of playing without the fans. But if that’s the case, the rest of the tournament will theoretically decline a lot when they return. Last year’s Lakers were among the NBA’s worst shooters. They are some of the best now, and they made no sacrifices in terms of defense or handling to achieve that. The champions are even better than them when they win.
Bad bucks, or bad D Bud?
The Bucks have now played four relatively healthy contenders this season. They have lost everything, but there is a common denominator for those losses. Let’s see how their opponents shot in those matches from behind the arc.
Celtics: 18 out of 40 (45 percent)
Jazz: 25 out of 53 (47.2%)
Nets: 15 of 31 (48.4 percent)
Lakers: 19 of 37 (51.4 percent)
The question here is how much of that is random and the portion of Milwaukee’s poor decision-making. Bucks play the NBA most active abandonment scheme. It is designed to protect the paint finish at all costs. That price, for good teams, is an easy 3, but these numbers are extreme even under those circumstances. To a certain extent, this is just bad luck. No team will be expected to shoot since all four of those teams have a permanent maintenance pattern.
But the Bucks are naive if they don’t admit what they’re giving up in playing this way. The Heat exposed the system’s flaws in the knockout stages last season. Every good team is doing the same now. Milwaukee has tinkered with some adjustments. They are converting more than ever, but not enough. If the Bucks plan to beat the Lakers or any of these teams at the end, they need to defend a bit more flexibly.