You can expect this battle of 8th seed teams to be a hard fought tight matchup. Both teams are playing the second of back to back games with only the Lakers being able to pull out a victory in the first one. The Bucks have lost their last 4 games coming into this one and look to get back on the winning side of things against a Lakers squad that barely pulled out a 3 point victory last night against the Timberwolves. The Bucks have a little more wiggle room in their conference as they go into tonights matchup 6.5 games up on 9th seed Philly and are only 1.5 games back on 7th seed Boston. The Lakers are in the much tighter Western Conference where they have only a 1 game lead on 9th seed Utah.
The return of Pau Gasol to the Lakers lineup definitely gives the LA a much needed boost down low, and will definitely play a role in this game. The Lakers desperately need to use their size and low post presence against the smaller Bucks defense. With that being said, the Bucks have some weapons of their own. If they are able to get out and run and gun as they please, I think they will be able to tire down the older Lakers team.
As with all Lakers games, Kobe is going to have to be a factor in this one if the Lakers want to pull of the W. Bryant is the only Laker averaging more 20 Points per game – 27.1. The Bucks are going to need scoring from everyone tonight as they don’t have anyone averaging more then the 19.4 Points per game being provided by Monta Ellis. They only have 2 players averaging more then 13 PPG. Ellis has shown that he has no problem providing points as he showed with his 29 points he put up Wednesday night against the 76ers.
The spread here has the bucks as 1 point favorites. I’m pretty confident that the Lakers will have no problem winning this game. With Gasol back and Howard being Howard I see the Bucks having a hard time stopping them down low. Kobe will put up his usually 25-30 points and the Lakers will improve that awful road record. Ellis would have to have a repeat showing of Wednesday night if the bucks want to keep it close but I don’t think he will be able to do it against the Lakers Defense.
The Lakers are an ugly looking 13 -23 on the road this season while the Bucks are a weak but above .500 team at home.
Most people, including myself, would have predicted the Lakers to be in a lot better position at this point in the season. Sure they lost Gasol for a significant piece of that along with an injury to Nash early in the season, but the truth is money does not buy rings no matter what people say, but neither does changing your name Ron.
Play: LA Lakers +1
Los Angeles Lakers • Milwaukee Bucks