On the back of another strong scoring performance from the young Brandon Ingram, the Los Angeles Lakers turned heads with a surprisingly strong performance against the dominant Milwaukee Bucks. In a game that initially saw the Lakers take a hearty lead in the 3rd quarter, the Bucks responded with a late 3rd quarter run of their own and the two would trade blows down the stretch in an exciting affair.
Unfortunately, the Lakers were unable to stop the Bucks offensive onslaught late and let the game slip away on the back of a 15-2 run in the final three minutes of the 4th quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a relatively efficient triple-double, but Eric Bledsoe stole the show with a game-high 31 points. Fresh off the heels of his new contract extension, Bledsoe was crucial in helping the Bucks to pull away late down the stretch and left Bucks fans feeling satisfied with their new long-term investment.
LeBron James and Brandon Ingram led the way for the Lakers, each matching Bledsoe’s game-high of 31 points. Rajon Rondo continued to rack up assists with 9 tonight, but was extremely inefficient shooting and strangely took a career-high 10 3-point attempts in the first quarter of the matchup.
Updated Lakers Playoff Chances
Struggling as of late and with one of the tougher remaining schedules in the NBA, most projections were rightfully low on the Lakers. FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection gave the Lakers a 21% chance to make the playoffs while FiveThirtyEight’s ELO forecast gave the Lakers merely a 9% chance to make the playoffs.
Following the loss, the CARMELO projection decreased the Lakers playoff chances to 15% while the ELO forecast decreased to 4%. With only 20 games remaining and now sitting 3.5 games back of the 8th seed, the Lakers need every win they can get. While most projection models accounted for the Lakers likely dropping this game to the Bucks, the fact remains that a win would have helped tremendously in climbing up the standings and increasing their playoff chances.
Brandon Ingram’s Hot Hand Continues
Brandon Ingram once again exploded to the tune of 31 points on just 21 shots. Ingram has been averaging 27.8 points per game since the All-Star break and has been scoring the ball at an extremely effective clip. Finally flashing the aggressiveness that Laker fans have long been begging to see out of the former #2 draft pick, Ingram’s results have been fantastic. With a few years of seasoning under his belt, Ingram looks much more composed on the court and seems considerably more confident in his ability to not just play, but dominate at basketball’s highest level.
Outside of Ingram and LeBron, the remaining Lakers were mostly inefficient shooting from the field despite posting a robust 120 points. JaVale McGee was the lone bright spot and provided a very effective 10 minutes off the bench, going 3 for 4 from the field while picking up a nice black along the way.