The Los Angeles Lakers emerged victorious in a thrilling game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday to end the franchise’s playoff drought.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers clinched a playoff spot Friday night after beating the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers improved to 48-13 on the year and are now five and a half games above the second-place Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference standings.
The win against the Bucks was great and all, but the real test is on Sunday against the Clippers. The Lake Show needs to do much of the same against the Clippers as they did last night.
The Lakers played solid defense against the Bucks and had active hands. They forced 19 turnovers and had 11 steals. Very important against tough opponents.
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The Lakers also kept the Bucks off the free-throw line in the first three quarters but didn’t do as well in that regard in the fourth quarter. LA defended the arc well and switched on the ball when a screen came, and they limited Milwaukee to 28% from three on 43 shots.
The Clippers are a team that will punish you at the free-throw line if you aren’t careful. They are also a team that shoots the three-ball really well, so running them off the line will likely be a part of the game plan.
The Lakers shot a lot, but you miss all the shots you don’t take. 91 total field goals and 32 of them were from three-point land, to be precise. They shot 42% from the field and 19% from three. One positive shooting stat was them getting to the line and finishing with 82% on 38 free-throw attempts.
LA is showing the league that a small lineup isn’t the new style and that playing down low is their style. They had 50 points in the paint, mostly coming from LeBron and AD’s attempts but also from putback attempts, a really strong trait the Lakers have. They are also spreading the ball, as they finished with 18 assists.
These are all great things the Lakers did on both sides of the ball that got them the win against the Bucks, and if they do it again on Sunday, they can beat the Clippers as well.
The Clippers are a smaller team than the Lakers in terms of height, and that can be a problem in transition, but if the Lakers play a smart half-court set, it’ll be a great matchup for all four quarters. If the play isn’t there, the Lakers have to get that ball moving and make the Clippers scramble on defense.
The Lakers weren’t perfect last night, and in order to beat the Clippers, they need to be close to it. The Lakers did shoot way too much, and their shot selection has been horrible as of late. LeBron and AD are doing it all, so if those two have an off night, it’s up to everyone else to pick up the slack.
Kyle Kuzma came through today to score 11 points off the bench as part of the bench’s 33 points as a whole. That’s a big help. The Lakers play good defense, but sometimes they give up too many easy points in the paint. They gave up 46 points in the paint to the Bucks.
Some of the hardest things to get over for the Lakers: closing out games and keeping leads. Those two things aren’t going to be easy to overcome against top teams in the league, and they need to fix it fast.
The Clippers have won both of the games played against the Lakers and they are the main ones standing in LeBron’s way to a championship. It was a statement win against the Bucks after losing to them earlier in the season, so Sunday’s game would be a statement if they beat the Clippers.
The Lakers understand how important it is. AD talked about it after last night’s win.
Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m on Sunday. What is your score prediction? Let us know in the comments down below.