In a marquee matchup of a Giannis-less Bucks vs. the LeBron-less Lakers, the energy was palpable at Fiserv Forum. Okay, I kid, I kid.
The Bucks would quickly build up a 13 point advantage, only to see it quickly dissipate in the second quarter. Why? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Milwaukee simply did not have any answer for him this period. When the quarter came to an end, he was sitting at 21 points in 12 minutes. It helped thrust the Lakers right back into the midst of things, trailing Milwaukee 61-58 into the locker room.
11 third quarter points from Khris Middleton would be the leading ingredient towards the Bucks building up a 15 point lead going into the fourth. However, the Lakers would continue to chip away, enough where it made Bucks fans nervous. Thankfully, an Eric Bledsoe 3-pointer around the three minute mark would re-ignite the crowd and prove to be enough for the Bucks to coast to victory.
Khris Middleton led the efforts for the Bucks, filling in for Giannis’ usual 30+ points. He’d tally 30 points, 10 boards, and six assists, which netted him a +24 on the night. Brook Lopez contributed soundly with 28 points of his own, while Nikola Mirotic poured in 23.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the man all night long for the Lakers. He completed his evening with a game-high 35 points.