Bucks look to get back on track at home vs. Lakers

NBA Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers hope a change in scenery can shake them out of some recent struggles.

The Bucks look to snap a two-game losing streak Wednesday night when they host the Lakers to begin a five-game homestand.

Milwaukee is coming off a 120-100 loss to the Hawks on Sunday. Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. Jrue Holiday contributed 19 points and eight assists, and Grayson Allen had 18 points on 7-of-11 (63.7 percent) shooting.

All five starters scored in double figures, yet the Hawks were never within 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“We’re not a team that likes to make excuses,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said. “At the end of the day we want to hold ourselves accountable, we want to make sure that we’re improving on the defensive end and playing together on the offensive end.”

Brook Lopez will be sidelined due to a back injury and Donte DiVincenzo remains out as he recovers from ankle surgery, but Khris Middleton is expected to make his return Wednesday. Middleton has not played since Oct. 30 after entering COVID-19 protocols and is averaging 20 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season.

The Bucks have dropped their past four home games, winning only once at home this season — defeating the Nets in their season opener on Oct. 19.

Opposing teams are averaging 107.8 points on Milwaukee’s home floor, and head coach Mike Budenholzer said he is looking for defensive intensity to increase for the homestand.

“Everybody’s got to participate,” Budenholzer said following the loss to Atlanta. “It felt like we were standing and watching some tonight.”

Los Angeles has won three of its last five games but is coming off a 121-103 loss to the Bulls on Monday night. Talen Horton-Tucker scored a career-high 28 points, Russell Westbrook added 25 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Anthony Davis chipped in 20 points on 6-of-9 (66.7 percent) shooting.

“I was just trying to go out there and play hard,” Horton-Tucker said. “We were down, so just trying to keep fighting was the main thing on my mind.”

The Chicago defense proved to be a challenge, as Los Angeles recorded its worst shooting performance from 3-point range this season, converting just six of 32 attempts (18.8 percent) from deep.

The trip to Milwaukee marks the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Lakers, who have played only three games away from home so far. They are 1-2 away from home and are averaging 110 points while giving up 116.3.

“We welcome the road trip. It’ll be good for us,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “We’ve been struggling, a little bit up and down, we’re fighting for consistency, and a change in our environment should be good for us.”

Vogel said following the loss to the Bulls that LeBron James remains day-to-day after missing the last seven games with an abdomen injury. James was averaging 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, seven assists and 2.3 steals before being sidelined.

If James does in fact miss his eighth straight game, Carmelo Anthony could draw his third consecutive start. The veteran forward has been averaging 15.5 points and four rebounds this season.

–Field Level Media

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