Ivica Zubac Provides Spark, Lakers Force Bucks To Overtime But Fall Short
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers shot a blistering 79 percent yet still trailed by five points at the end of the first quarter, and though they managed to force overtime, eventually suffered a 124-122 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Along with eventually cooling off from the field, which was to be expected, the Lakers were hurt by 19 turnovers. Milwaukee converted that to 31 points, and comparatively turned the ball over 13 times.

Leading by 11 coming out of halftime, the Bucks scored the first five points and pulled ahead by as many as 20 points. The Lakers managed to cut into their deficit and trailed by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Playing with a unit that more closely resembled what has been seen with South Bay than on the parent team, Ivica Zubac scored six points within the first two minutes, pulling the Lakers to within single-digits and waking up the Staples Center crowd.

Alex Caruso sustained the momentum by drilling a 3-pointer, and Kyle Kuzma contributed five consecutive points to make it a one-possession game. Then with just over six minutes remaining, Kuzma found Zubac for a game-tying layup.

The Lakers later took the lead on Julius Randle’s steal and push in transition for a Kuzma slam dunk. But the Bucks responded, re-claiming the lead on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s tip-in, then extending it behind an Eric Bledsoe driving layup.

Brandon Ingram connected on a game-tying 3-pointer but failed to convert the four-point opportunity. Both teams went cold down the stretch, sending the game into overtime. The Bucks scored the first nine points, only for the Lakers to answer with a 6-0 run.

After Antetokounmpo split a pair of free throws, the Lakers bypassed on calling a timeout. Their possession ended with Kuzma taking an off-balanced, contested 3-pointer that he missed, all but sealing the win for the Bucks.

Eric Bledsoe had game-high 39 points to lead Milwaukee, while Khris Middleton scored 28 points and added four rebounds and five assists before fouling out in overtime. Antetokounmpo had 27 points to go along with a game-high 16 rebounds. No other Bucks player had more than eight points.

While the Lakers saw the return of Josh Hart from a fractured bone in his left hand, they were without Lonzo Ball who missed the game due to a left knee contusion suffered Wednesday. Moreover, Brandon Ingram was still on a minutes restriction, and the lack of depth was further sapped by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting ejected late in the second quarter.

Ingram only appeared briefly in overtime before gingerly walking to the locker room. Hart had 13 points and a team-high 13 rebounds, while Kuzma led the Lakers in scoring with 27 points. Zubac chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench.