The Los Angeles Lakers are making their return to Staples Center for their first home game of December after a rough road trip where they lost seven of eight games. They will take on the Milwaukee Bucks, who just gave the Golden State Warriors their first loss of the season in their last game on the hardwood.
Jordan Clarkson is returning to the starting lineup after missing the past two games and Byron Scott will send a hot D’Angelo Russell to the bench.
Greg Monroe was scratched from the Bucks starting lineup after injuring his knee during pregame warmups, so the Lakers should take advantage of his absence in the paint.
Jordan Clarkson was not shy in his return to the starting lineup, shooting five shots in the first three minutes but only converting one of them. The Lakers gave up easy layups in the paint on the defensive end, but Lou Williams hit a three on the other end to put the Lakers up 9-8 with 7:47 left in the first. Russell checked in for Clarkson with 6:04 remaining in the quarter and the Lakers trailed 11-14. Roy Hibbert took advantage with Greg Monroe sitting out, scoring seven points with five rebounds early in the game. After missing a layup, Russell intercepted a pass and scored right under the basket, putting the Lakers up 23-21 with 3:12 to go in the first. Kobe Bryant played the entire quarter, scored 10 points on four of six shooting, and the Lakers were up 30-25 after one.
Nick Young came out to start the second quarter and hit his first shot, a three-pointer, to put the Lakers up by six. Russell continued his aggressive play and delivered a beautiful no look pass to Randle for the dunk, giving him his third assist of the game. The Lakers had a defensive breakdown and allowed O.J. Mayo to knock down an open three and then let Michael Carter-Williams dunk in transition to complete a 7-0 run. The Lakers responded with a run of their own, outscoring the Bucks 12-2, putting the Lakers back on top 51-42 with 2:45 left in the half. The Lakers finished the half strong on a 16-6 run and led the Bucks 55-46.
The Lakers started the half strong and Larry Nance Jr. rose up for a one-handed slam dunk over John Henson to put them up by 13 points. Kobe continued his impressive play and he nailed a rainbow fadeaway jumper to give him 15 points on the evening. Halfway through the quarter Kobe nailed a three in transition plus the foul for a four-point play, putting the Lakers up by 18 points. Kobe continued to have a major impact on the game with back-to-back assists and the Lakers led 75-53 with 4:34 remaining in the third. With under a minute remaining in the quarter, Kobe danced around the perimeter and was fouled on a three-point attempt, giving him 22 points through three. Russell was fouled with 0.3 seconds remaining in the quarter and his two free throws put the Lakers up 86-66 at the end of the third quarter.
Russell continued to run the show and he found Nick Young in the corner for a three, and then nailed back-to-back threes to put the Lakers up by 21 points with 9:42 left in the game. Five minutes into the fourth, Russell intercepted a pass and sliced his way to the front of the rim for a finger roll to give him 17 points, and the Lakers led 100-81. A few minutes later Randle caught the ball in the paint and finished in traffic to give him 12 points along with his 13 boards in the game. The Bucks cut the Lakers lead down to 15 points with 3:34 left in the game, but Williams drew the foul on a three-point attempt and converted all three free throws. Russell helped seal the victory for the Lakers with a layup and an assist to Randle and the Lakers led by 20 with 2:20 left in the game. In their first game home since the road trip, Lakers win 113-95.