Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks Pick & Prediction MARCH 8th 2024

Eager to get back on track after seeing their winning streak come to an end, the Milwaukee Bucks take their four-game California road trip to Los Angeles on Friday to face the Lakers.

The Bucks finally have some cohesion now under new head coach Doc Rivers, but a six-game win streak came crashing down Wednesday in a 125-90 setback to the Golden State Warriors.

Playing with a renewed energy of late on the defensive end, the Bucks did not allow an opponent to score more than 107 points in their winning run and held four foes below 100.

The Warriors found a way forward by shooting 48.7 percent (19 of 39) from 3-point range, including 6 of 10 from Steph Curry, who finished with 29 points. It was the fourth-best shooting percentage from distance by a Milwaukee opponent, with three of the top four coming since Rivers took over Jan. 29.

“I know this is going to sound like a shock but I really didn’t think it was our defense, it was our offense,” Rivers said. “… They had, what, 21 points off of our turnovers, and what, 15 blocked shots? They were in transition or in early offense that whole game due to our bad offense.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points after missing Monday’s victory over the Los Angeles Clippers with left Achilles tendinitis. Damian Lillard and Bobby Portis each scored 20 as the Bucks were without Khris Middleton (ankle) for the 12th consecutive game.

Milwaukee was held to 28.2 percent shooting from distance in the same number of attempts as Golden State. They shot 38.2 percent overall.

“The moment the ball stopped moving (on offense), everybody’s not touching it, everybody’s not getting energy, now our defense is not that good,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s one game. … We have three more on this road trip and hopefully we get locked in.”

The Lakers also were thumped Wednesday, taking a 19-point lead in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings before giving all of it back before halftime and losing 130-120 after trailing by as many as 22. Team defense was off kilter with Anthony Davis in foul trouble.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 31 points but he departed to the locker room with about four minutes remaining with soreness in his left ankle. His availability for Friday is in doubt.

“It’s just what I’ve been dealing with before the (All-Star) break, after the break,” James said. “I’m just managing it the best way I can. I played the whole third, sat a little bit to start the fourth and when I got back in, it kind of just … whatever. It’s just something I’ve been dealing with.”

Los Angeles is still much improved with a 10-5 record since the start of February but have lost two of their past three. The victory was over one of the top teams in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Monday.

“It sucks, especially in a must-win game that we needed,” Davis said of Wednesday’s loss after scoring 14 points, tied for his sixth lowest total in a game this season. “… Would’ve been a big win for us.”

–Field Level Media

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