Lakers vs Milwaukee: Lakers open trip with win over Milwaukee Bucks
Lakers 118, Bucks 107 (final)
The start of this three-game trip began just the way the Lakers wanted it, with a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, a victory that snapped a two-game losing streak.
It also was a victory that gave the Lakers a six-game winning streak over the Bucks.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 31 points.
But it was the impressive play and shooting by Shannon Brown that lifted the Lakers.
Brown had 16 of his 21 points in the fourth.
Brown made three three-pointers in the fourth.
Brandon Jennings, who attended Compton Dominquez High, led the Bucks with 31 points.
Lakers 90, Bucks 81 (end of third quarter)
By the end of the third quarter, the Lakers had started to take control of the game, opening a nine-point lead.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points through three quarters.
But it was the hustle by Matt Barnes and the shooting of Steve Blake that helped the Lakers.
Barnes passed to Blake for a three-point shot that gave the Lakers their lead.
Bucks 59, Lakers 57 (end of first half)
With Brandon Jennings dribbling the basketball with about nine seconds left in the second quarter, Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen stood up and hacked his harms, a signal to the Lakers that they had a foul to give.
The Lakers didn't. Instead, they allowed Jennings to drive all the way for a layup that gave the Bucks the two-point lead at halftime.
Jennings had 19 points on eight-for-13 shooting in the first half.
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 14 points each in the first half.
Lakers 32, Bucks 29 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers were already short on big bodies when Ron Artest came to the bench midway through the first quarter and asked for a heating pad. Artest went back in the game about two minutes later, but he checked out again.
"It's my hip," Artest told teammates.
His repacement at small forward, Matt Barnes, made a three-point shot just before the first quarter expired to give the Lakers a three-point lead.
Meanwhile, Artest got stretched by one of the Lakers' personnel people.
With backup center Theo Ratliff out four to six weeks after he had arthroscopic on his left knee Tuesday, and with starting center Andrew Bynum still recovering from right knee surgery, the Lakers are thin in the frontcourt.
With that in mind, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was asked before his team played the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday if he'd like to see Los Angeles acquire another big man.
"Well, we probably should," Jackson said. "We don't have a whole lot of experience."
Jackson didn't say any deal was close and he didn't mention any names.
All Jackson has left as a backup big player is rookie Derrick Caracter, who is listed as 6 feet 9.
Jackson said the Lakers would need some "support" at the backup center spot until Bynum returns.
The Lakers hope that Bynum will be able to practice with the team once they return from this three-game trip through Milwaukee, Detroit (Wednesday) and Minneapolis (Friday). The Lakers will be home Saturday and may practice.
Bynum, who is on the trip with the Lakers, was asked if he would be back by Thanksgiving. "Yes," Bynum said. "Sounds about right."
Jackson said Caracter probably would play Tuesday against Milwaukee's backup center.
Jackson also said Lamar Odom, who has a bruised bone in his right foot, will play some at center against the Bucks.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from MIlwaukee